Request Advise on Destop/Workstation/Multimedia


I would like to begin by saying thanks for such a great forum(real professional). I have touched on a few topics in review and attempt to put together a solid direction to take in building a new system. Reality is that for someone like me who has moderate comp. knowledge and just simply gets overwhelmed by all the choices, data interpretations, and technology changing so fast . I simply need technical advise based on investment for a configuration that will cost effectively carry out for roughly 3- 5 yrs. For $ 1000.00.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE:6/2010-30days BUDGET RANGE: $ 1,000.00( out the door )Before / After Rebates

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Blueprint/CAD/photo editing. Movie&Music downloading/watching/recording/editing.(large file management). Multiple programs running simultaneously along with general web surfing. Must prepare unit for all types of peripheral connectivity options. I would like this to be as much a HD home entertainment mangmnt. center as a workstation.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I just need a CPU/Tower(Maybe a suggestion on a wireless keyboard w/ builtin rollerball/mouse..not included in price.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: No preference just reliability OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES:Here is where I started until I began to read reviews about difficulty in upgrade-ability and compatibility for adding to the tower i.e. power supply. I also became frustrated not being able to identify from the ZT website , true component specs, and model #'s so I could actually see what i was purchasing. i.e. what motherboard, memory, hard drive, sound card, power supply.


OVERCLOCKING: Maybe , rather have the capability but not imperative(honestly don't know enough about to know if i need it.)

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Support for but not limited to: Vizio TruLED LCD HDTV model- SV472XVT website link-

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Tower : capable of potential upgrades i.e. PS increase, adding HD's, Optical drive, sound cards, video tuner cards, perepheral connectivity front panel Multimedia card reader, USB 2.0/3.0 , headphone/mic. , eSATA II. Minimum of 2fans. Rear- USB 2.0/3.0, eSATAII, HDMI, DVI, VGA, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, RJ45 . Light, bells and temp gauges aren't necessary but if the right tower comes with , then so be it.
Possessor: I'd like to use the AMD Phenom™ II X6 Six-Core Processor 1055T . But am open to suggestion.
Motherboard: this I'm not sure of but do understand the significance of compatibility between other components and futuristic potential component support. So Med. to high end would make sense.
Memory: 8GB DDR3 Memory, 16GB MAX. I think would work just need to know good make.
Hard Drive : 1.5 TB SATA at 7200rpm. Just need to know good maker.
Optical Drive : 8X DVD±RW / Blu-Ray Player Combo Drive . Need to know good one .
Graphics: Need to be Dedicated and this is all I have looked at - ATI Radeon™ HD 5450 Video Card w/ 1GB VRAM, Supports dual display operation, DX11 Support . Any suggestions based on profile and what I can prepare for technologically certainly appreciated.
Networking: 10/100/1000 Mb/s , Bluetooth, and wireless router compatibility.
Power Supply: 400W or better and quiet.
Operating System by default would probably Windows 7 64bit...... unless I can be provided with some Open Source suggestions for alternatives that are simple to understand, broad compatibility, and reasonably priced. The majority of my Windows/ XP usage is for work thru a VPN on a company laptop and minimal use of this operating platform for personal use since all other correspondence is done thru google Docs. I do use Adobe editing software , and music recording software, etc.

Anyway, I think that is a good start and prepared to take the punishment for a newbie but could you keep it simple and constructive . In the meantime I will continue to read about the different component reviews and suggestions on this site. Thanks In adv. for any assist.
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More about request advise destop workstation multimedia
  1. Welcome to the forums scotch84.
    Like you mentioned - hard to know what's actually in that ZT Affinity 7383Ma Desktop apart from the CPU itself.
    On the other hand it's not that easy to price match using known brand name, quality parts. But I think this is a pretty good shot.
    I started using parts from the sticky topic Recommended Builds by Usage and picked a range of nice hardware, used a couple less expensive but still good parts (case and PSU, 1TB HDD) to get close to the overall budget goal.

    Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz $310
    or Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Deneb 3.4GHz $180 Jury is still out on how much more performance you'd actually get going 6 cores vs 4 faster cores. Pretty much certain it wouldn't be as much a performance increase as the price jump indicates.

    ASUS M4A89TD PRO AM3 AMD 890FX $180
    G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) RAM $120 2 sets @ $240
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB HDD $80 plus $10 off promo code till June 7th
    LG Blu-Ray ROM DVD Burner combo $95
    POWERCOLOR Radeon HD 5450 $45 and $10 rebate

    CORSAIR 400CX 400W PSU $50 and $20 rebate
    Antec Three Hundred case $70
  2. An idea on a wireless keyboard/trackball combo. ADESSO WKB-3000 2.4 GHz RF Wireless Mini Keyboard w/Optical Trackball
    Do you already have a wireless or IR multi-function remote you're happy with?
  3. An alternative to the Costco ZT Affinity 7383Ma Desktop would be the HP Pavilion Elite HPE-175z
    Price is right in the same ballpark, with a few minor exceptions. 9GB RAM vs 12. HD 5570 vs HD 5450 video card, etc.
    Again, you're getting some of those mystery parts, but at least you have HP standing behind them.
  4. WR2, Thank you very much for your insight and individual investigation providing direct links to suggested components and alternatives, well done. Your absolutely right ZT Systems did not provide actual part #'s for the components after technical support inquiry. I did not realize there were multiple makers / providers for the same GC or MB model #. when you really begin to look at it through NewEgg. Wow. This is going to be quite a challenge. But I do feel better educated after what insight you have provided me . Once again the options provided make sense.
  5. WR2, If your referring to a wireless LAN/ bluetooth adapter(Rec.) to be installed in the desktop, no , this I will need to add to parts list to be added
  6. WR2, Suggestion taken and will investigate. I did go through a website build and ended up way over budget for that unit. Once again I think its great that major mfgrs. provide customize option but the integrity behind this has actually gotten worse not better over time.
    My next question I suppose and can find on (Toms) answers to..... regarding actual system turnup/test. I have confidence in the mechanical build process but do have some fears in the config. arena. Do most of these components come with the necessary support for installation and activation.
  7. ADESSO WKB-3000 2.4 GHz RF Wireless Mini Keyboard w/Optical Trackball

    Bluetooth receivers are usually short range and plug in to the USB ports in the form of a dongle.
    ASUS USB-BT21 USB 2.0 Mini Bluetooth Dongle

    Wifi (802.11b/g/n) adapter are available in a dongle, internal card and external antenna/USB.
    I'd only use a dongle for relatively short range setup. If there is any distance invoved, or walls or floors the internal card or external antenna/USB probably are better options.
    Here is the list of wireless adapters @ NewEgg
    What I usually do if I'm not sure what options work best is to sort the items by Best Rating, look for the best number of 'Eggs' and read the customer comments.

    You can browse the sticky topic at the top of this forum:
    [New System Build] Step-by-Step Guide to Building a PC
    You can also find a ton of guides on the internet, including youtube videos.

    Because things don't always go smoothly (you can see a lot of people asking for troubleshooting help in here) there is also
    another sticky topic called: [New System Build] PERFORM THESE STEPS before posting about boot/no video problems!
    It covers some of the typical "gotcha's" that keep showing up during self-installs.

    I know you can get better quality parts when you buy your own and build. But that's not the same as saying you get 'bad' parts buying an OEM computer like ZT Affinity, HP, Dell, etc. After all... a Phenom II X6 1090T is a Phenom II X6 1090T no matter what name is on the case.
    While the OEMs don't always use top quality PSUs, RAM, etc.... they use parts that are good enough to get the job done.
    And you don't have to worry about doing the troubleshooting if you're build goes awry. And your warranty work is through one company. You'll be your tech support staff for your DIY build.
  8. WR2, Your advise regarding warranty / tech support and my thoughts of reality in terms of " building my own '' have brought me down a notch.
    Here's what I came up with going thru Costco who provided an additional 2yr warranty on top of HP's 1yr. + free ship.
    HP build option based primarily on overall cost, the built-in wirelssN+bluetooth adapter(I need as many of those usb's free as possible I always run out).
    Anyway, can you take a look at the link provided.
    General consensus good or bad .
    I do have concern about the OEM 350w PS provided but did not have an option to select another, so some thoughts on upgrd. that will work on the OEM uATX case. Or simply not enough info w/o knowing what type of MB is installed?
  9. The Costco link didn't work for me.
    Actually, sending you to the troubleshooting sticky was supposed to bolster your confidence that you could finish a build and avoid the most common pit-falls.
    The OEM PSU is 'good enough'. If you're going to do a major video card upgrade you want to match it with an appropriate PSU.
    Off all the off-the-shelf choices I saw at Costco site I like the ZT Affinity 7380Ma Desktop Phenom II X4 965 $800 model and HP Pavilion HPE-170t Core i7-860 $900 model. You'd need to add the Wifi/Bluetooth options you want. And the Affinity would need a video card upgrade - something you could easily do yourself.
    I saw that you could configure the HP on the Costco site to get an upgrade on video and the wireless/Bluetooth.
  10. This is just an afterthought, iand i might be completely wrong, but i thought that to do serious scale CAD and image editing, a different type of graphics card is needed.
    Something from the ATi Firepro Lineup
    or Nvidio Quadro FX lineup
    because it seems like you are using higher end CPUs and large amounts of ram, it could be a thought
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