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Assistance on budget minded but powerful build??

Last response: in Systems
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May 18, 2010 4:37:45 AM

edit: just read the 'how to ask for new build advice' thread... requested format added:

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APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: one to four weeks

BUDGET RANGE: around 6-800, after rebates/promos/etc, flexible somewhat

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: professional audio applications/VST, recording and audio editing, photo editing/visual design, possibly video editing.)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers/audio, HDD (already have wd caviar black for boot/system drive and caviar green for audio/storage)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: US

PARTS PREFERENCES: considering i5 750 or i7 920 possibly with gigabyte ud3r... but not partial to either intel or gigabyte necessarily, just seems that the i_ level of proc's are the best mulititaskers out there currently... if there is a comparable amd configuration, i'd definitely be interested in exploring it as well-

OVERCLOCKING: no SLI OR CROSSFIRE: no

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: see below....

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May 18, 2010 5:10:06 AM

trying to build a system that is both powerful and as budget friendly as possible.

i am a composer/producer, so looking for components/setups that work well with professional audio applications and vst's. reliability is extremely important in this context as i've had too many past issues with hardware... after doing some research, it seems that the intel i_ line of processors would be the most powerful choices, however, i simply don't have the money to work on an i7 975 level.

i am hoping to keep the build around 6-800 (not including monitor/mouse/keyboard/etc), and within that range level, i've been trying to logically navigate a decision of processor which is proving to be quite difficult actually...

the i5 750's seem to do quite well for multitasking and such... however, everything ive read seems to hail the i7's as the end all in terms of power capabilities. in the past i've gone the amd route to keep things cheap, but now with the i7/5's, it seems they just simply don't have anything that closely compares, but if im wrong with this conclusion, i'd certainly appreciate any correction-

with all that in mind, i am also hoping to build something that will stand up well for the next 3-5 years and possibly even provide some sort of upward compatibility (like with the 1336's ability to use triple channel mem and support a six core vs the 1156, for example) RAM isn't a huge concern for right now... a couple sticks of 1 or 2 gb would be fine for now and later upgrade to something higher as i plan to install XP as OS...

other considerations would be that i plan to use a rack mount case such as this one... which also comes with a relatively decent 480w PSU... i would like to incorporate a redundancy system of some kind as well, at very least RAID 1 but possibly a different more capable configuration (not extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the other incarnations of RAID honestly; any suggestions/advice is appreciated!)

lastly, im not a gamer in any way, nor do i plan to be any time soon, so graphic processors are of little overall importance to me, just need something in that area that will play video sufficiently and reliably for the cheapest possible price (something preferably passively cooled as well to minimize noise). as i understand it, with the x58 chipsets (required for i5/i7), a separate gpu is necessary....again, if this is incorrect, i apologize and would love to be wrong actually as it would undoubtedly bring down the overall cost quite a bit...


ANY advice at all is greatly appreciated as this area of a specialty build isn't one that is often covered by many reviewers etc and it's been difficult to find solid info otherwise... :) 
Related resources
May 18, 2010 8:35:22 AM

CPU:-
Intel Core i7-920 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor $280
http://www.newegg.com/Store/Category.aspx?Category=34&n...

mobo:-
ASUS P6X58D-E ATX Intel Motherboard $240
http://www.newegg.com/Store/Category.aspx?Category=20&n...

GPU:-
HIS IceQ Radeon HD 5670 H567Q1GD Video Card w/ Eyefinit $125
http://www.newegg.com/Store/Category.aspx?Category=38&n...

HDD:-
2x Western Digital Caviar Green 800GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive in RAID1 2x$60=120

PSU:-
Rosewill RG530-S12 530W "Compatible with Core i7,i5" Power Supply $50
http://www.newegg.com/Store/Category.aspx?Category=32&n...

Case:-
HEC Blitz Black Steel Edition ATX Mid Tower Computer Chassis Gaming Case $55
http://www.newegg.com/Store/Category.aspx?Category=9&na...

RAM:-
CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory $109
http://www.newegg.com/Store/Category.aspx?Category=17&n...


Total = $979

If you need ur system b future proof den u hv to shell dis much out nd get a gud rig to support ur current needs. Future processors would use LGA 1366 sockets which only X58 chips support and they are the culprits for the whole cost. You also need a directX 11 card to prevent this rig to get outdated in 2 years. So try and increase your budget. If you cannot do it, go for the below one rig which will satisfy your current needs comfortably but will sacrifise a little bit on future upgrade:-

CPU:-
Intel core i5-750 around $210
(not available on newegg)
If you want from newegg only den:-
Intel Core i5-660 3.33GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor $200

Mobo:-
MSI P55-GD65 ATX Intel Motherboard $150

GPU:-
HIS IceQ Radeon HD 5670 H567Q1GD Video Card w/ Eyefinit $125
http://www.newegg.com/Store/Category.aspx?Category=38&n...

HDD:-
2x Western Digital Caviar Green 800GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive in RAID1 2x$60=120

Ram:-
CORSAIR XMS3 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory $109

PSU:-
Rosewill RG530-S12 530W "Compatible with Core i7,i5" Power Supply $50

Case:-
HEC Blitz Black Steel Edition ATX Mid Tower Computer Chassis Gaming Case $55

Total = $814

So this should suffice

Hope this helps :) 
May 18, 2010 8:41:03 AM

I forgot 2 mention that.....i5-660 is a dual core processor......try avoiding it and get i5-750 as you want to do video editing and audio editing as the former has 2 cores and the latter has 4 cores. This gonna make a big difference.

And I've not included other things lyk keyboard, mouse, display etc. since u said so......So I included the things you must upgrade.....And you can go for ATI 5450 instead of 5670....but 5670 has a very good performance and depending on your requirements....i think you shouldn't go above that nor below it

:)  :)  :) 
May 18, 2010 8:43:46 AM

sry....I forgot 2 mention 1 thing.....newegg.com has vry high prices....so search for another dealer by my advice.....rest all depends on you

have a nyc tym building ur pc
gud luck
May 18, 2010 10:42:46 AM

thanks alot for all the replies-

i was originally thinking that the i5 750 would be what i'd most likely end up going with... however, the sort of work that i do... put it this way, with my current 3 year old laptop as my daw computer, the projects that im running have to split up into probably 20 different projects to actually work anything out, and as VST's increase in their quality and performance, they only get more and more cpu intensive; thus, the absolute most powerful machine that i can get my hands on is what im after. i think people that don't have experience with pro audio applications would be quite surprised by how cpu hungry they are...

i have indeed read numerous benchmark tests/articles for everything from different processors and on... but the inherent problem with these is that they don't necessarily simulate the load of recording 20 tracks simultaneously, while running the DAW itself, with 2 VST's on each channel... a couple VSTi's running on midi... it's quite different than most of the benchmarks i've seen done.

with that said, i've also read a few articles where certain systems were put head to head and just loaded up with different instances of VST's/etc... in one, reportedly, the i7 920, stock speed, was able to run 150 instances of relatively low quality plugin inside a typical DAW; that is what im after, the ability to run a hundred vsts in one project and still have proper latency settings.

searched around some for cheaper deals on the i7's and found a bloomfield 930 from microcenter at 199- snatched that up.

so now it's on to the mobo... looked around quite a bit and it seems that the general consensus is that the gigabyte boards with x58 chipset/1366 are most's top choice for i7... but i was able to find a really cheap open box Asus P6T LGA 1366 board, so am thinking about going that direction as of now...

one thing that seems strange to me is that from reading some reviews on the p6t, it seems to have issues running mem sticks at their proper speed, seems that many had to manually set it... i'd rather not go this route if it is the case, i just want something that is durable and reliable but will give me the absolute best bang for buck-

@shishir, do i really need a 125 dollar graphics card?? as MAZWANTGUN sugested, there seem to be some much cheaper ones out there.... really want the bare minimum here as fancy visuals aren't a concern of mine, in fact, i always configure windows to use the lowest possible graphics settings so as to free up cpu for audio stuff- i am completely ignorant as far as the gpus are concerned however... i've always just used mobo's integrated stuff in the past, never had to even think about it till now with this x58/i7 setup...

also, i've already got the HDD's i am going to use for system drive and storage drive... couple months down the line i plan to grab a few more and setup some kind of redundancy situation, but until then what i have on hand will work just fine.

the case that i am considering comes with a 480w PSU also, i think that sounds as though it would work alright... but as stated, i would eventually like to be able to run a few drives in RAID, and that's on top usb devices/firewire devices being run... so wondering if the cheap and probably low quality 480w PSU that comes with the case would be enough for my needs as they are now but also as they will be in the semi-near future... again, any suggestions/advice in these further arenas is indeed greatly appreciated.

thanks again everyone-
May 18, 2010 11:14:29 AM

janedoe357 said:
thanks alot for all the replies-

i was originally thinking that the i5 750 would be what i'd most likely end up going with... however, the sort of work that i do... put it this way, with my current 3 year old laptop as my daw computer, the projects that im running have to split up into probably 20 different projects to actually work anything out, and as VST's increase in their quality and performance, they only get more and more cpu intensive; thus, the absolute most powerful machine that i can get my hands on is what im after. i think people that don't have experience with pro audio applications would be quite surprised by how cpu hungry they are...

i have indeed read numerous benchmark tests/articles for everything from different processors and on... but the inherent problem with these is that they don't necessarily simulate the load of recording 20 tracks simultaneously, while running the DAW itself, with 2 VST's on each channel... a couple VSTi's running on midi... it's quite different than most of the benchmarks i've seen done.

with that said, i've also read a few articles where certain systems were put head to head and just loaded up with different instances of VST's/etc... in one, reportedly, the i7 920, stock speed, was able to run 150 instances of relatively low quality plugin inside a typical DAW; that is what im after, the ability to run a hundred vsts in one project and still have proper latency settings.

searched around some for cheaper deals on the i7's and found a bloomfield 930 from microcenter at 199- snatched that up.

so now it's on to the mobo... looked around quite a bit and it seems that the general consensus is that the gigabyte boards with x58 chipset/1366 are most's top choice for i7... but i was able to find a really cheap open box Asus P6T LGA 1366 board, so am thinking about going that direction as of now...

one thing that seems strange to me is that from reading some reviews on the p6t, it seems to have issues running mem sticks at their proper speed, seems that many had to manually set it... i'd rather not go this route if it is the case, i just want something that is durable and reliable but will give me the absolute best bang for buck-

@shishir, do i really need a 125 dollar graphics card?? as MAZWANTGUN sugested, there seem to be some much cheaper ones out there.... really want the bare minimum here as fancy visuals aren't a concern of mine, in fact, i always configure windows to use the lowest possible graphics settings so as to free up cpu for audio stuff- i am completely ignorant as far as the gpus are concerned however... i've always just used mobo's integrated stuff in the past, never had to even think about it till now with this x58/i7 setup...

also, i've already got the HDD's i am going to use for system drive and storage drive... couple months down the line i plan to grab a few more and setup some kind of redundancy situation, but until then what i have on hand will work just fine.

the case that i am considering comes with a 480w PSU also, i think that sounds as though it would work alright... but as stated, i would eventually like to be able to run a few drives in RAID, and that's on top usb devices/firewire devices being run... so wondering if the cheap and probably low quality 480w PSU that comes with the case would be enough for my needs as they are now but also as they will be in the semi-near future... again, any suggestions/advice in these further arenas is indeed greatly appreciated.

thanks again everyone-


hey I was telling u frm the future proof prospective.....the performance demands will definitely shoot up in the coming years. I would agree dat 5450 would suffice but 5670 will be future proof. By the way, an idea came 2 my mind....you can go with 5450 rite now.....and if required, you can upgrade after 2-3 years...that would b a gr8 choice.

you can check this site out.....it will help you in deciding how much power rated PSU you should use:-
http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp
while according to me.....480 W should suffice
I think 350W should suffice....but on a safer side....dont get below 400W at

one thing more....if u hv already purchased hdd den its ok.....but if u r buying 1....den get a hdd with larger buffer memory and higher spindle speed lke 7200 rpm (though common now).

And how much memory r u setling for???
I advice going with a not less than 4 GB DDR3 1333MHz at any cost....try putting 8 GB

:hello: 
May 18, 2010 1:50:41 PM

PhenomII X6 1055T + IGP chipset with native SATA 6Gb/s support and USB 3.0 via NEC Chip for the el cheapo multi tasker if u open to non i7 solutions? I am thinking mATX 880G ..or perhaps an Asrock 880GExtreme3 or Gigabyte 880GA-UD3H if ATX. Nasty little clockers too if u learn down the road ^^
May 18, 2010 9:49:16 PM

thanks so much for all the help everyone! extremely appreciated.

based on advices, think ill most likely just get the 5450 for now... probably stick with the psu that comes with the case.

just going to be running that cheap as hell i7, but i do appreciate that amd suggestion. the sata II support would've been nice for sure. but really just want a stock system that will perform to a high standard since im completely ignorant as far overclocking goes...

will probably just get a set of 3x 1gb 1333 ddr3 memory for now as it's cheap and when running a 32bit OS it's close to the maximum that can be handled and it would allow me to make use of the triple channel memory with that Asus mobo-

far as mem goes, any thoughts on companies? corsair i've always had good luck with in the past, but there are cheaper/other options out there as well...

again, many thanks!
May 18, 2010 9:52:23 PM

Just curious, do you already have the 32-bit OS? If not, there's no reason to go with one these days...at least none that I'm aware of. You're better off going with a 64-bit install and if you have to go with 3 GB of memory so be it, but since this is a new build, you might as well go 64-bit and not have to reinstall if you ever want to add more memory.
May 19, 2010 4:10:45 AM

@Coldsleep; you are definitely right, regarding the OS... except that with music/sound/audio production, a setup is made of many different programs, called VSTs, which either produce sound or affect it in some way... some are maybe less expensive then others, but some can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. a typical producer will accumulate many of these throughout a career and with 64bit OS's being so new, there are still many VST's that simply aren't compatible. i really would prefer to switch over to 7 at this point as everything i've read pretty much says it's better than xp finally, in terms of efficiency and stability, not to mention that it can address >4gb of memory which would be amazing- but i just can't afford to go out and buy all new VST's for a new OS install right now. hopefully in the semi-near future though...

i really know very little about win 7 though, curious to know anyone's experience with it vs XP?
May 19, 2010 4:16:38 AM

An option would be to get Win XP Professional or Ultimate and use the XP compatibility mode/virtual machine, which apparently does really well at emulating an XP environment, though you might want to check your specific software to be sure.
May 19, 2010 8:31:56 PM

nice. not aware of those profiles... ill have to do some looking for sure- thanks
!