Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

<$1000 gaming/video editing desktop!

Last response: in Systems
April 28, 2010 6:47:44 PM


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: in the next month (May 2010)

BUDGET RANGE: less than $1000 After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: moderate gaming, closely followed by AVCHD editing on Adobe PPro CS4/5. Any PPro users out there?

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS


PARTS PREFERENCES: i7-860, HAF 922 looks hard to beat, efficient power supply.


SLI OR CROSSFIRE: probably not


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I have been doing ridiculous amounts of research but I still feel like I could use your help! I am most likely going to hold off on a video card until the GTX 285 goes down (the cheapest CUDA card utilized by CS5). Also, I think I want to go the 1156 route (instead of the 1366) due to lower power consumption/heat.


- (CPU) + (Cooler) Combo: Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor + Noctua DH-14

- (Motherboard): GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3P

- (Hard Drive): (I know it's not f3...eek!) Western Digital 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s

so my plan is to buy a second in the future and put them in raid 0 after I read this:

- (Ram): G.SKILL ECO 4GB DDR3 1600

- (Video Card): none for now, but in the future possibly GTX 285? No DX11?

- (Case): Coolermaster HAF 922

- (Case Fan): Coolermaster 200

- (Power supply): OCZ Modx 700w - this has been giving me the most trouble because I found out the cables on the OCZ700MXSP aren't long enough to go behind mobo in (the newegg combo) HAF 922!

so maybe this?

- (Power supply): Silverstone ST75F-P

Currently, (with the Silverstone PSU) i'm at $979 after shipping.

Thanks a lot for the help (I certainly need it!).
April 28, 2010 10:59:40 PM

CS4/5 ??

"No GPU, for now" ????????????????????????????? ... ???

Is there something you are not telling us ?

From whence wilst thou video signal be derived?

= Al =
April 28, 2010 11:02:54 PM

What he means is the motherboard you have selected has no onboard video.
Related resources
April 28, 2010 11:33:56 PM

The TWO things that matter MOST, for CS5 are ...

(1) nVidia Architecture ... and ...

(2) OpenGL 3.0 (or above) Support

Anything above DirectX 9 will do fine ...

Here are the ONLY viable cards, for your build (IMNSHO) ... I like the first one best ... I would love a 470 ... waiting for it's little brothers to emerge.

The first card on this list is IDEAL (for budget builds) ... Followed by the 470 and the Quadros.

PNY VCG98GTEE1XPB GeForce 9800 GT EE 1024MB Graphics Card - 1024MB, GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0, SLI Ready, (Dual Link) Dual DVI, Stereo, Dual VGA Support

PNY VCQFX580-PCIE-PB Quadro FX 580 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation

PNY XLR8 VCGGTX470XPB GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI

PNY VCQFX1800-PCIE-PB Quadro FX 1800 768MB 192-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 Workstation

= Al =
April 28, 2010 11:41:05 PM

JB4times4 said:
What he means is the motherboard you have selected has no onboard video.

This is true ... but not "the half of it" ....

(1) EVEN *IF* it DID have integrated graphics, ... IGP *WOULD NOT* suffice (in the least), for CS5 and ANY sort of GPU rendering.

(2) You DO want nVidia Architechture AND DRIVERS for CS5 and most Pro Graphics and edit suites.

(3) The 860 *IS* the appropriate chip, for CS5 but (as mentionned) ... it has no IGP ... GOOD !!

(4) I recommend either an ASUS 890FX mobo (soon to be released) or an X58 mobo (Socket 1366).

I am not even going to get in to point #4 but, if you will trust me, you may never need to know why.

= Alvin =
April 28, 2010 11:51:23 PM

Asus or Gigabyte X58 mobo
3x2GB GDDR3 1600c7
Hyper 212+ Cooler
FERMI 470 (or lower) GPU
~800W PSU

... OR ...

ASUS or Gigbyte 890FX mobo (soon to be released ... read reviews).
Phenom-II (or Thuban) x4Core 955BE@3.2GHz (Thuban version not yet released)
2x2GB or 4x2GB DDR# 1600c7
Hyper 212+ Cooler
PNY 9800GT-EE Low power True Single Slot w/CUDA, Dx10.1, OpenGL3.x & SLI
~650Watt PSU

BUT NOT SOCKET 1156 (In my rather well educated opinion) !!

= Al =
April 29, 2010 2:22:53 AM

Alvin Smith said:
Is there something you are not telling us ?

From whence wilst thou video signal be derived?

JB4times4 said:
What he means is the motherboard you have selected has no onboard video.

That was all I was saying, because obviously he didn't realize that when he pieced it together. I'm not the one to help with builds, I just didn't want the op to become confused.
April 29, 2010 2:52:39 AM

Hey! thanks for the replies! Sorry about the GPU mix up... I have a 7800 sitting around that I will throw in it (I know the i7 doesn't have graphics...). My intention is to buy the system (without new GPU) until either the 4xx or 285 go down in price.

Doesn't CS5 MPE only support 285 and Quadro? (Probably 470/485 soon also?)
So why would I purchase a 9800?

And the 285 doesn't support DX11... which could be a slight bit more future proofing in games...

And to Alvin Smith... you said the 860 "is the appropriate chip" but then (in your next post) said "not socket 1156". What gives?
April 29, 2010 3:13:25 AM

It seems everyone is focused on the lack of GPU in the build (I know!)... I just want to make it clear that I am going to buy the system slap an old GPU in and play starcraft 2. Then later (possibly when more nvidia dx11/cuda/mpe cards either hit shelves or go down in price) pull the trigger on the new GPU.

Please advise me on the other parts of the build also! (PSU,mobo,ram)! I need the help. What do you guys think about the raid 0 sata 6gb?
April 29, 2010 4:10:14 AM

9800's are actually pretty good for what you are looking to do, especially in SLI. I think that's where Alvin was headed. The 1156 is a good platform, but the i7 is king for rendering, video, editing etc among other things. Shop around. Take a look at for an i7-860 on the cheap (199 I think). Check Fry's for mobo's and RAM at Newegg. Biostar is cheap and has come along way. Don't be afraid of negative reviews, most people are clueless....
April 29, 2010 5:16:09 AM

Hey goatsword... I haven't been able to find anything online about the performance of the 9800 GT's in PPro. I know they aren't on the supported GPU list for MPE and aren't DX11, but they are CUDA cards.

I'm kinda thinking it would be best to wait for the nvidia 460/450 gtx/s. (At the same time seeing how much adobe will unlock the fermi cards' tracks in PPro MPE).

But... in the meantime... I want to play some games! I wish there was a microcenter near me (Indiana) because I could save $80 on the i7-860!
I'm pretty confident with my mobo choice (GB GA-p55a-ud3p) because it has sata3 and usb3.0.

What does everyone else think?
April 29, 2010 5:27:32 AM

First let me say that I do not recommend any card that does not specifically support OpenGL 3.x.

The GT220 (a new part) is the only 2xx card that does, as far as I know. But, it is new and there seem to be some issues with it and it is not proven to be a good CS4 card ... It seems a good card but is very modest, in processing power as well as power consumption. Sounds too whimpy, for you.

My point is that the GT240 thru the 285 may work but do not support the most recent OpenGL extentions (3.0~3.2) ... These cards are likely DirectX 10 or 10.1 <

The Quadros are aging and pricey and will not game ... Good for the work-place, but not great for HTPC and suck for games (I don't game so, the Quadro 580 looks pretty good (and affordable) to me).

I suggest the 9800GT-EE because it was PURPOSE DESIGNED TO FILL EXACTLY THIS ROLE ...

... Low cost ! (Only $110 BEFORE rebate).
... True Single Slot !
... Reduced power consumption ... runs from slot power.
... Support OpenGL 3.1 (or 3.0) ... I forget.
... Has CUDA (combined compute) support ...
... and multiple Hi-rez monitor support

I could drop you the link, very easily ... but it would be more instructive if you do this yourself ...

Have you ever heard of a company called "B&H Photo" ? ... They are the prime online broadcast equipment supplier in North America.

Here is a link to their main page ... I want you to type something into their search box and then look at the system configurations that pop up (The GPUs).

Enter the term : "CS4 turnkey" into the search box ... Take a look at those configs.
April 29, 2010 5:51:30 AM

AND ... almost forgt ... Two 9800GT-EEs in SLI will game QUITE respectably (within reason) and there is a way to increase fan speed for overclocking.

ONE IMPORTANT thing to note is that a "REGULAR" 9800GT is not at all the same thing ! ! !

The REGULAR 9800GT DOES NOT SUPPORT OpenGL 3.x and sucks power and is much bigger ...


9800GT-EE ... that is. ... And WOULD be superior to current 2xx cards.

Ideally ... for YOUR purposes ... A 450 would be perfect ... Not t'till this fall.

... PS: But if you spring for a 460~480 FERMI (for gaming) ... Well, that would be JUST GREAT as a Semi-Pro graphics render engine ... But the 450 would be more than plenty, for graphics/edit, if it was also enough for your gaming requirements.

So .. a 9800GT-EE (just one), for the near future ... a FERMI 450~480 ... if you are going to wait.

Frankly, at $90 (after rebate) the 9800GT-EE would prolly leave your 7200 in the dust. Pretty cheap for a gaming and WS card ... Really the only one that exists (outside FERMI).

= Al =
April 29, 2010 6:07:10 AM

Hey Alvin thanks for the insight. Yes I have heard of B&H Photo... I have purchased a camcorder and lenses from their website... although I didn't know they sold systems.

I looked at the list of geforce GPUs again and I was completely surprised by some of the cards' lack of open GL 3.0 support.

You are obviously more versed in PPro than I am but could you remind me why open GL 3.0 is most important for CS5? I would really think that support for MPE would be most important...?

The 9800 GT EE is an attractive card but it seems like I would be spending $100 on yesterdays technology. $100 that could go to a gtx 285 or 470. or in the future 460/450?

Regardless, like I have said before, I am holding off on the video card for now, i.e. I will not be using PPro on this system until then. BUT I would still like to play some SC2 on something more powerful than the laptop I am typing this on!
April 29, 2010 6:58:12 AM

Sure ... I have NO investment in pushing you into ANYthing ... Use what ya got.

FERMI would be superior and if $100 ain't chicken feed (pocket change), then the 7200 will edit with VEGAS or Liquid Edition or uLead products almost as well .

AS far as graphics languages and extensions go ...

I am not a coder and did not write the code for any major pro app.

I DO *SEE* what turnkey systems (ALL OVER THE NET) are using for their builds.

I can look up system requirements and certified components for Pro apps and plugins.

I can hang out on the avid and CS forums ...

I have done all this, and more. I just want to use the the dam stuff ...

So, as far as MPE goes ... I really think that applies more to the actual code development environment for multi-threaded apps. Wheras the OpenGL is a set of GPU specific extensions that are called upon directly ... Even from within MPE ... Do I care? ... Only if my tools need it ... now or in the fairly near future ... Other than that ? ... Couldn't possibly care any less.

... I have NEVER seen MPE mentionned outside of a strictly development environment and I think you *might* be comparing apples to oranges, there.

Show me any specs or applications platform requirements that even mention MPE .

I mean ... live and learn ... big world out there ... no way anybody can know very much ... so teach me all about MPE ... I have a ravenous curiosity about such matters.

= Al =
April 29, 2010 7:42:16 AM

uhh well Al. I don't really know what you want me to say... maybe that you know more than me? I've already said that. I was just asking before why you thought OpenGL was so important... from what I've seen CS4/5 only calls for 2.0. So I was asking why pay for yesterdays card with 3.0. But I guess I'll just take your word for it... since you won't tell me.

Regarding MPE... I don't know anything about it other than it harnesses the GPU to speed up AVCHD editing... a LOT from videos I have seen. But I doubt I know anything about it that you don't know. (Or perhaps more likely, what I know is wrong!)

Have you heard of people editing AVCHD on a 9800 GT EE? If all it takes is $100 I wonder why people spend so much money on higher priced components.

I've pretty much given up trying to get useful information about my build at this point since every comment has been about a GPU... which I said in my first post I will not be purchasing.

Best solution

April 29, 2010 8:38:43 AM

Well ... Rather than TRY to teach a college course, on Pro Graphics (something I am neither qualified nor inclined to do) ... I will try to be as consice as I possibly can be.

CS5 (And partner products such as FX and plug-ins) are VERY numerous and varied ...

Only a smallish handfull of those tools are GPU intensive ... and ... even many products which specify a particular GPU only exploit the GPU when you use those specific features.

GPUs do motion titles and graphics ... 3D titles and graphics with motion, lighting and shading. ... Particle and 3D effects ... Lighting effects ... etc. Why do developers rely on OpenGL3.x ? ... you tell me ... don't know ... don't care ... just know the products are asking for it.

Multi-Threaded CPU with big-fast RAM are utilized for trancoding and output rendering, as well as multi-stream RT edit and time-warping, etc.

Two things to consider .... (1) What will my "live/real-time" editing experience be like (with a given platform/build) and ... (2) How long will my (unattended) output and effects renders and transcodes and DVD creation take?

Fact is ... your 7800 WILL do ALL of this ... *eventually* ... however slowly.

So ... what you REALLY NEED to decide is how much of all that are you going to do and how complex (layers and effects) will my projects be.

This is (only one reason) why I don't really like the 1156 ... it is the worst of both worlds.

An AMD 955 (clocked) is not *quite* as fast as an 860 BUT is much cheaper and the 890FX has 42 PCIe (full) 2.1 lines and the 1156 chipsets do not ...

So ... aside from being lots cheaper, and almost as fast, it has MUCH more connectivity, for HD-SDI capture and fast external storage and slot-drives and extra firewire-800 ports (for drives, cameras and sound-mixer control surfaces.

If you REALLY think a 955/890FX will not be fast enough ... You should skip completely over the 860 and go large ... an X58/930 ... just a bit more and will add triple channel ram wwith a starting capacity of 6GB ... A worthy boost.

ALSO ... the AMD Hex cores are out ... they are good ... they are cheap and will get cheaper quickly.

Last ... Gamers never seem to really grok how important more screen real-estate is, to "Creative Productivity" ... The real prob with slo environment is that you lose your creative chain of thought, too often, and delays can hose a decent session.
... Having larger and more displays can make a HUGE difference in productivity (proven invariable, actually).

So that is the real landscape, as far as YOUR thing goes ... Don't waste too much on the GPU OR the CPU ... price, connectivity, ergonomics (displays) all contribute to "getting a project done". AND will allow more/better peripherals and usage flexibility (other uses).

If you are simply wanting to do Music Videos, Local Cable Shows, Art montages, and simple documentaries ... You should really look into VEGAS Platinum (just the consumer version) ... It does 4 tracks of video and can utilize 4 threads ... It costs $95 and comes with all the "classic motivated effects"

Further ... It digests anything and the output quality is superb ... The learning curve is also very shallow (for a RT-NLE).

I have been VERY surprised at VEGAS 9 Platinum's ability to "just get it done" ...

... I edited with AVID EXPRESS PRO for several years .... For projects that do not require "work-groups" and networked sharing and Pro codecs (in excess of 25Mbits/sec), VEGAS and Liquid Edition and uLead Media Studio Pro all offer very workable and complete toolsets and great output quality ... Vegas is the cheapest of these and, arguably, the best, with a direct affordable path to "pro".

I want to use CS5 production suite ALSO, and am committed to learning and accumulating ADOBE toolsets BUT ... I have boxes of HDV and DV-25 projects backed up and I don't (right now) have the money and the time to buy and learn "all that" ... VEGAS is $95 ... AND ... it has context-sensitive, interactive tutorials which LEAD YOU thru most processes ... VERY helpful ... really speeds things up.

That is the "no BS bottom line, for folks like you and I ... aspiring? ... yes ... committed? ... yes ... rich? ... no! ... got stuff to do RIGHT NOW? ... yes.

... And VEGAS and uLead and Liquid Edition don't care squat what GPU you have ... they want as many cores and as much fast memory and all the clocks you can throw at them, but they can run on your notebook, too .. if you have the time for LONG renders.

Is that any better ? ... CS5 is great ... but there are LOTS of good cheap tools and your creative abilities will have FAR more influence than your tools.

My freind told me ... The camera does not matter NEARLY so much as getting it to the right place, at the right time, and pointing it in the right direction.

= Alvin =
April 29, 2010 5:41:47 PM

Hello again Alvin, thanks for the additional info.

I already have CS4 (free from university) and will also likely get CS5 for free shortly. That is why I am using Adobe. I am not going to purchase another program... I would rather just build a system that can do the job on Adobe because it seems to be the best out there. (Also Adobe is the only to edit AVCHD natively, I believe).

You mentioned developers relying on OpenGL 3.0 cards... do you know if they are using one of few cards that "specifically support" 3.0 or just cards that can "use" 3.0 (anything G80 or newer from this:

And the reason I was so hung up on MPE is because it *looks* like it can greatly speed up effects AND render times / export times! (Doing CPU work right?)
Although this could be all marketing hype. It sounds like you know more about what truly goes on behind the curtain... so maybe just a GPU that has OpenGL 3 would be a better bet than a MPE enabled GPU?

I was hoping someone would mention 1366... but it seems to me the only advantages of 1366 are the added RAM and PCI-E lanes. First, I think 8GB should be enough for me? Second, I only need one GPU! Aside from the fact that editing programs don't use SLI (Starcraft2 doesn't either). So why not save the money, heat, and power, on an 860 (over a 930)? Also, from the looks of it most P55's have the same features of X58's and are cheaper.

I'm going to start looking into the new AMD X6's. See if I can find any benchmarks yet...

Thanks again for the help.
April 29, 2010 8:45:17 PM

Best answer selected by pijh.
April 30, 2010 6:44:46 AM

The 860 is a screamin' chip ... despite the reduced pin count. I just don't like the idea of reduced pin count ... or of slow PCIe 1.0 x1 lines (that's not a typo) ... or the lack of Native SATA3 ... or even dual ch (vs. 3 ch) DDR3 ...
... Just seems like a compromise, to me .... Seems to me that the latest AM3 (890FX) chipset(s) offer much more/better "studio peripheral connectivity" than the 1156 platform and that the 1366 is the REAL DEAL when it comes to a "RENDER ENGINE" ...
... Other than offering a rather limp, intermediate price point, with benches that DO fall between the other mentionned platforms, it just has no true appeal or "feature based personality" ...

... Like the Radeon 5830 GPU card ... I just hate the idea of a product that is based on what it "almost could do" ... A lobotomized version of a better product. ... It does offer and price/bench "point", on the continuum, but ... like ... SO WHAT ? It is just a shadow of a 5870 and failed the test as a 5850 ... so ... here ... enjoy!

I wish I was young, and at university, and had CS4 and was shopping for a rig ... do not underestimate just how cool your life is ! ... or, How much you can do with the DECADES ahead of you. ... I'm just trying to crank out some personal art before I croak !

= ribit = :bounce: 

** Thanks for the points ! **

= Al =