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First Computer Build EVER! Help Needed!

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June 11, 2010 1:31:39 AM

Ok, this is my first post so I hope I can relate things well to all of you out there. I'm just getting into the computer-building niche and am trying to build what I think of as a great performing system, while still keeping my costs down (no news there, everybody wants to). Some of the things that may make of this build tough are:

1) I have absolutely no components other than a wireless keyboard/mouse set up, and an old Gateway P3 866Mhz system that barely runs WinXP home.
2)I will be doing a multitude of things on this new computer:
  • (very mild) CAD from Autodesk's AutoCAD 2007
  • (rarely) recording tracks in either/both Tracktion 3 or Cubase 5
  • gaming with new games such as the upcoming Guild Wars 2 or Starcraft 2 (preferably a DX11 card or sli/xfire)

    AND THE KICKER: my "vision" is for this computer to function as the center for all of my entertainment needs; I'm confined to one bedroom of a 4-bedroom apartment because I'm in college. What this means is that I'd like to have a TV Tuner in there so that my computer monitor can function as a TV. This also means that I'd like to have the flexibility to plug my Xbox 360 into the monitor with either HDMI or Component inputs and play some console games too :D  .

    Through my research, I've found that I could possibly gain some performance when I record music by going quad-core so I'd like to go for a quad; this whole build is theoretical right now though so I'm open to ANYTHING. Lastly, the budget that I'm trying to go for is 1300 total, including a monitor and a copy of Win7. Newegg is where I've been doing all of my shopping lately, and it would be nice to order every component over the internet.

    I thank all of you in advance!

  • More about : computer build needed

    June 11, 2010 3:47:48 AM

    Hi, looks like we have the same goals, except your budget is a littler higher than mine. I would definitely suggest a 5850 GPU and a good quad-core. With this being said, I'll post the image of a suggested build from a veteran member in my own thread.

    Here it is:




    As you can see, this excludes the monitor and the operating system. However, I'm sure you can add that in and fit it within your budget. The subtotal in the picture isn't high at all.
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    June 11, 2010 8:38:50 AM

    ^+1 if using autocad though. they prefer nvdia cards. but if your totally gaming go for the 5850
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    June 11, 2010 9:24:23 AM

    You can squeeze the cost by getting a 650W PSU and perhaps get a creative sound card for your sound needs.
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    June 11, 2010 9:48:20 AM

    Assuming your old computer will be going to the bin after the new one is built and that it was a retail Win XP, you can legally buy the Windows 7 upgrade pack instead of the full version to install on your new hard drive. It costs a lot less and the actual contents are EXACTLY the same, the difference in price between upgrade and full version is for the license only
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    June 11, 2010 11:01:51 AM

    Great advice thus far guys! Couple things before I head out to work -

    For my music -> worth it for the Thuban? and why not look at the 965 instead? am i missing something about the 55?

    Quote:

    You can squeeze the cost by getting a 650W PSU and perhaps get a creative sound card for your sound needs.


    all i need there is a 4 or 6 pin firewire 1394a because i have a presonus 8 channel xlr interface.

    Quote:

    ^+1 if using autocad though. they prefer nvdia cards. but if your totally gaming go for the 5850


    Yeah, I've noticed that. Have some experience with Quadros/SolidWorks at my internship.

    Quote:

    Assuming your old computer will be going to the bin after the new one is built and that it was a retail Win XP


    lol it was Windows Milennium from Gateway, with a free "XP Upgrade" cd. and by upgrade are you talking about the OEM packs that are about 60 bucks less than retail?

    lastly(!), are there any intel products that are comparable in price/performance (for reference if anything)? After all, I've been reading OCN and this forum long enough to know that if I stir the pot some fanboys will come out of the woodworks! :kaola: 
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    Best solution

    June 11, 2010 11:34:06 AM

    OEM is about the same price as the Upgrade windows 7. It is the best alternative to buying the full version if you cannot legally use the Windows 7 upgrade (you can still use the upgrade without issue but it is technically not legal so naturally I am not suggesting it). Just a note about going quad for extra performance with music recording - quad is important for more than that, nowadays it is ideal for gaming too, you don't want anything less (well, you could get away with X3 but definately not Dual Core)

    The OEM license restricts you to your PC components I believe - so if you replace it you cannot reuse the OEM windows. Whereas the full license gives you more flexibility. It is not really a big deal as it will unlikely ever be an issue and even when it is one - given that thefull retail version is not far off the price of 2 OEM versions, then by the time you build a new comp or replace many parts in your old one you can just buy a new OEM version.

    The 955 is practically identical to the 965, so most go with the 955 as I believe it requires nothing more than a single tweak in the bios to make it a 965.

    Here is a build that can be done near budget

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.0GHz - $159.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

    ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 - $149.99 + $2.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

    G Skill 4GB 2x2GB RAM - $109.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 500GB 7200RPM 16MB Cache - $69.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

    Sony DVD drive - $24.99 +$1.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

    HAF 922 - $89.99 - $9.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

    Combo XFX 5870 and XFX 650w - $444.98
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Comb [...] mbo.421101

    Windows 7 Home Premium OEM - $99.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] -_-Product

    Total: $1164.88

    That leaves $135.12 left for monitor, so sadly we have overspent, but you said open to suggestions so I put an ideal build. You could save $15 reducing HDD to 500gb though that is not really worth it. I have given you one of the best gaming GPUs, you could reduce that to a 5850, though due to the combo the card was in you would save about $50 rather than $100, but still, an extra $50 would put you in range for a nice monitor if you were willing to sacrifice the GPU.

    A cheap but pretty nice 24 inch monitor is Acer 2ms response time - $209.99 + $11.99 shipping
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Or a cheaper monitor which may allow you to keep the decent GPU is LG 21.5 inch (LG monitors are damn good these days) - $169.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Given that you need a monitor in the price, it gets tricky to convert to Intel - you would want at least the i5 750 which is $199.99, and if you want USB3.0 and possible XFire you want the $189.99 mobo.
    Talking of mobos, you may be able to save some money on the mobo I picked - I am not overly familiar with AMD mobos so can not really strongly recommend one
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    June 11, 2010 12:36:50 PM

    looks quite good already. If I could, let's see if I can just throw some more things out there:

    @asteldian: that xfx 650, do you think it could handle 2 xfire'd cards? if so, up to what HD5xxx model? I was thinking xfire after I saw that build because of the sheer price in the 5870. maybe 2 5750's/ 2 5770's is cheaper than a single 5870 and almost as good in performance?

    other than that, lets talk RAM shall we? 4gb of RAM is in my Gateway laptop (P-7805u) and Tracktion 3 loves all 4gb of it, leaving NOTHING.

    In conclusion, I guess this post is a "what about 8gb RAM/ PCIe 2.0 (x16,x16) crossfire?" lets go, what, $1300 w/o monitor?
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    June 11, 2010 12:53:22 PM

    Without monitor I would up the mobo to the next one up (I can't think of its name, but type in Asus 890 in newegg search and one is more expensive than I linked and has 16/16). You could also afford an extra 4gb if you feel you need it.

    Corsair 750W - $99.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    Has all you need to Xfire the 5870.

    With those changes I would still run just one 5870 for now - it runs better than 5770 Xfire and works in all games without any issues (Xfire can be problematic sometimes, if a game does not support it well you do not want to be stuck with a weak single card).

    The 5870 currently needs no partner to play games. In the future when games get more demanding and GPU cards have come down in price you can grab another one
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    June 11, 2010 2:15:12 PM

    Just real quick - being that the 5870 is 350+ USD, what about nVidia in this competition?
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    June 11, 2010 3:21:11 PM

    I seriously should be working, but instead I whipped this monster up.



    I took a few liberties, but still ended up with crossfire 5750's because I didn't want to give up the 8gb of RAM.

    the reason why I chose such a large screen is again because this is going to end up being my all-in-one TV/Computer/Console Gaming solution too.

    Comments? Suggestions? Point out my failures?

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    June 11, 2010 3:33:56 PM

    bassmanj said:
    I seriously should be working, but instead I whipped this monster up.

    http://i47.tinypic.com/1zw1dp2.jpg

    I took a few liberties, but still ended up with crossfire 5750's because I didn't want to give up the 8gb of RAM.

    the reason why I chose such a large screen is again because this is going to end up being my all-in-one TV/Computer/Console Gaming solution too.

    Comments? Suggestions? Point out my failures?


    This is an okay build, but I think you can do better. First, you're already exceeding your stated budget. Ignore this if you have a lidless money jar, but I think it's dangerous to not follow closely to your budget. You may very well end up way pass your budget by the time everything is said and done.

    You also chose the xfire 5750 over the suggested 5850. The combo in my first post includes a good PSU as well, and if you do some research, you'll realize that the 5850 trumps the 5750 by a significant margin. You'll be wise to choose the 5850 for performance and "future proofing."

    Eight gigs of ram is overkill for your purposes and probably most other purposes. Stick with 4 gigs of good quality ram.

    Another thing to note is that DDR3 1600 provides almost no practical advantage over a DDR3 1333. You'll probably not notice a performance difference. The advantage to having DD3 1333 ram is that you will find more motherboards that are compatible and will play nice with your ram card.

    Just my opinion on some things you should consider.
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    June 11, 2010 4:11:22 PM

    Good to know, good to know. I'll look around a bit when I get off work (about 5-ish hours).

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    June 11, 2010 8:38:06 PM

    Definately no to the 5750 XFire.
    5770 is a budget card and is not great at 1920 x 1080, XFiring them gives you good performance but is still a far inferior choice to the 5870 and I would also still pick a 5850 over them XFired. You have picked a pair of even weaker cards which are definately not a better choice than the 5850. Also keep in mind with Xfired weaker cards you have nowhere to go - when they are not enough to keep games running well you have to get rid of them both, with a 5850 or 5870 when they struggle with games you just add another and can go a lot longer
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    June 12, 2010 1:52:42 AM

    argh. I'm starting to get the hang of it. I think for now the obvious choice is the AMD/ATI combo for everyday use. Thanks a bunch to everyone who helped me out, and I'll update or start a new thread when the final shopping cart is made
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    June 12, 2010 1:57:43 AM

    Best answer selected by bassmanj.
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