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~1200+ multi-purpose

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Last response: in Systems
April 30, 2010 7:34:34 AM

Hi guys, I'm new to the forums here.

I'm going to be shopping for a brand new box soon, and I think it would be best to ask for advice from more experienced system builders.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Some time between now and June
BUDGET RANGE: ~1200+? Might want a new monitor to go along with it though, so I might some extra cash to it. My budget is pretty flexible, but I'd like to save what I can.
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Photoshop, Gaming, Compiling shittons of code, Minor Virtualization,
PARTS PREFERENCES: I'm not a big hardware follower, which is why I'm hoping someone here can help
OVERCLOCKING: Minor yes, but I'd like to get a decent lifespan on the parts as well
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: I'd rather go with a single card solution because of future scalability and power consumption, but if it's the best option, I'm open for it
MONITOR RESOLUTION: I'm hoping to buy a 1900x1200 monitor to go along with the new rig


Okay, here are my issues with the decision. I do want to game on this computer, and get quite a decent fps output for new games on moderate/high settings for a single 1900x1200 monitor, but more importantly, I need both the CPU and card to run well with CS5. Also, anything that reduces compile time would be great.

Additionally, eyenfinity looks like an attractive option, because I might be getting another monitor later, and possibly a third down the road. Having native hardware that would support that would be nice (but not entirely necessary).

Finally, I am delving into some GPU accelerated programming this summer, and having a card that would support testing at home would be great (I could always use the labs, but not everyone wants to stay there all the time). This means that I have to chose between OpenCL and CUDA. I've heard some people say that ATI drivers are hard to deal with, and OpenCL is clumsy and an immature technology, so I want to confirm with you guys here :p .

Some additional considerations: I would prefer a system that runs on the cool/quiet side, so I'm kind of wary about the recent GTX470/80 reviews which compared them to thermonuclear devices :p . I'm willing to purchase some aftermarket cooling, but I'm hoping for something that doesn't tick off my noise sensitive roommate at night. I also will probably be leaving the computer on most of the time, so I'm hoping for a low idle power consumption.

Right now I'm considering building around a Core i5-750 and Radeon 5850, but I'm still trying to decide between Nvidia and ATI. Also, I'm pretty much clueless about picking out a case, so I'm going to have to defer for that.

(100$)ASRock P55DE3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
(200$)Intel Core i5-750 Lynnfield 2.66GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor
(110$)G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL
(320$)ASUS EAH5850 DIRECTCU/2DIS/1GD5 Radeon HD 5850 (Cypress Pro) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card w/ Eyefinity
(75$)Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC "compatible with Core i7/Core i5" Power Supply
(110$)Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Comes to around 915, leaving perhaps around 200$ for the case+cooling+optical drive and/or whatever else I have forgotten?

I know this is a lot to ask, but I hope that someone here can help me. Thanks in advance!

(Edited to include potential build)

More about : 1200 multi purpose

April 30, 2010 4:20:23 PM

Cooling... Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus

HDD... Your selection is a SATA 6.0Gb/s but your motherboard doesn't support them. My recommendation is to switch to this... Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB

Do you need a monitor because I don't see one listed, along with OS? These will both drive your price over the $1,200 budget. I would recommend spending a little more money and pickup a better motherboard like the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro. The rest of your build looks solid.
May 1, 2010 9:25:22 AM

Thanks tecmo. I totally didn't notice the HDD being 6gb/s.

That said, I'm also reconsidering the ATi card. I'm having a very hard time trying to decide between the new Fermi cards and the Radeon 5850/70 series. It seems very likely that I might need CUDA in the future if OpenCL doesn't work out. Does anyone have some experience programming with the different GPU acceleration APIs (CUDA/DirectCompute/OpenCL)?

I've heard from some people (who might also be just biased, I can't tell) that ATi cards are great for gaming, but terrible for application GPU acceleration. That doesn't really bode well for me :\. From what I've seen in reviews though, the GTX 4*0s are super hot though... I'm not sure I could stomach a graphics card running at 94 degrees. It kinda of scares me haha.

Furthermore, it seems like my budget will go up to around 1500$, as I'm getting a 300$ rebate for my video card from my workplace. Does anyone have some suggestions on where to put this extra cash to work?
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May 1, 2010 9:51:19 AM

From what I have heard ATI are actually pretty good with application GPU acceleration, but I cannot back that statement up as I do not do anything other than gaming.
All I would say, is with gaming for sure I would not touch the Fermi cards as the power and heat and little performance increase is not worth it and also price wise a 470 costs the same as the superior 5870 card.

I would spend a bit more on the PSU, it may seem uneccessary, but I always go with a 750W PSU minimum to account for upgrades in future and also to account for PSU giving less juice with age. The cost difference is not significant.

You could spend the extra cash on a motherboard that will allow XFire in the future, while I personally have no interest in XFire, if your budget can afford it, a better motherboard with that option is worth having just to give you options in the future.

The other extra cash could go towards a 5870, or if othrs argue well for the Fermi then one of them

Best solution

May 1, 2010 11:15:33 AM

If your big focus is the graphics accelarator end, CUDA is the way to go at this moment, which means Nvidia. I would spend the extra cash and upgrade to the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro motherboard I had originally recommended, switch out your GPU to the GTX 470 (they aren't as hot or loud as you think) and truly think about either going with a second monitor or a Kingston SSDNow V+ 64GB drive for your OS/Apps.
May 8, 2010 12:03:15 AM

Best answer selected by 3xc355.