$600 Multitasking Machine

Made a post before asking what to look for and am now trying to build a pc instead of finding a prebuilt one (will save $ in the long run by upgrading only specific components when needed right?)

I've never built a computer and am having ridiculous trouble comparing various components. Figured I'd asked the experts ;-)


BUDGET RANGE: $500-$600 after rebate

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: multitasking (just a boat load of programs that need flawless switching between/fast loading), gaming (hopefully be able to run GTAIV - not a priority though)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: doesn't matter. balance cheap/reliable





MONITOR RESOLUTION: currently have dual monitors(1280x1024), plan to buy a nice HD 20"+ monitor - don't have a specific one in mind, but it will be playing HD movies as well as multitasking (<$200 range) so everything should run smooth on that too

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I have loads of programs open and need a computer that can a) open programs fast and b) switch between them seamlessly.

I LOVE music and spend most of my day listening to music. My speakers are Logitech z-2300 and headphones are Senn HD280PRO. I don't know if sound card was included in the above builds, but I need something that wouldn't put my speakers to waste.

I play the occasional game but it isn't necessary. IMO, the most advanced graphics card I would need should run GTAIV (at least smoothly on low graphics).

Also, I'm not a fan of a light up case. I might be leaving it on overnight in my room and the less light/noise it produces would be ideal, but performance and cost take precedence.

Would be great if the build allowed for easy/cheap upgrades in the future.

Thanks in advance,
34 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about multitasking machine
  1. CPU/OS: X3 440 and Windows 7 Home 64-bit $165
    Mobo/PSU: Gigabyte GA-770TA-UD3 and OCZ ModXStream 700W $115 after rebate
    RAM: GeIL 2x2 GB 1333 mhz CAS Latency 9 $80
    GPU: HD 5770 $135 after rebate and promo code
    Case/HDD: HEC 6T Series 6T10BB and Seagate 7200.12 500 GB $70
    Optical: Cheap SATA DVD burner $18

    Total: $583
  2. @Mad - Can I replace w/ the following:

    @dbq - i would be willing to go over $600 if the upgrades really pack a punch and are worth it. Does the performance & ability to upgrade improve with your setup?

    More notes: I don't need OS (so that should axe $100 off).

    I LOVE music and spend most of my day listening to music. My speakers are Logitech z-2300 and headphones are Senn HD280PRO. I don't know if sound card was included in the above builds, but I need something that wouldn't put my speakers to waste.

    Also, all the components will come with all the wiring I need right?
  3. Best answer
    Both of those would do fine.

    Instead of the OS, grab the X4 955. The difference in price between the X3 440 and the X4 955 is just around $100.

    A sound card wasn't included in either build above. However, it's really not that big of a deal. Onboard sound is excellent now days, and is able to support up to 7.1 systems. Generally, it's advisable to wait and see if you can actually hear that it's not the best. That way if onboard is just fine (as it almost always is), you'd save yourself a good $100ish, which is about as little as you could spend to get better quality sound.

    Yes. The motherboard will come with several SATA cables, the case will come with all of the screws you'll need and the PSU will come with all of the other cables.
  4. THERE IS NO REASON TO SPEND $115 on a 700watt power supply for this build!

    You'll be fine with an OCZ 550 modular on newegg - seen them for around $55 after rebates
  5. Hey, man, don't get a cheap case:

    you can change just about everything else,
    but changing cases is one big pain in the rear.

    Get something like the Cooler Master Storm Sniper,
    which you can grow and expand to your heart's delight:

    ... and don't look back: lots of case manufacturers are
    copying CM, because they often innovate first.

    Another really good CM is this one:

    my 2 cents :)

  6. What makes a case good? Are there cases that are incompatible?

    I'm just going by reviews on newegg and the ones that are coupled with the seagate seem pretty good
  7. Things I look for:

    (a) hard drives mounted "sideways" to create more room
    for space in front of the video card(s), and of course
    ease of installation and removal;

    (b) PSU mounted at the bottom rear;

    (c) 2 fan grills in the bottom panel:
    one for the PSU and one for an optional
    fan to intake cooler air that congregates
    below the chassis (cold air falls);

    (d) one or more fan grills in the top panel
    (because hot air rises);

    (e) enough width and passages to permit
    cables to run behind the motherboard tray;

    (f) a sufficiently large rectangular hole
    under the CPU socket, to permit easy
    retrofitting of HSF backplates;

    (g) dust filters on all intake fans.

    ... stuff like that.

  8. Look closely at the bottom panel of that Rosewill Destroyer:

    There is no fan grill directly under the PSU:
    this forces you to point the PSU's intake fan UP
    for best air flow, but that air will necessarily
    be warmer than cold air that enters the
    PSU's fan from below that bottom panel.

  9. lowriderflow said:
    THERE IS NO REASON TO SPEND $115 on a 700watt power supply for this build!

    You'll be fine with an OCZ 550 modular on newegg - seen them for around $55 after rebates

    That PSU isn't $115. The combo of the board (about $80 by itself) and the PSU (about $60 by itself) comes to a total $115 (or a $35 discount). That's very different from the PSU costing $115. While 700W is more than what the build actually requires, the 700W unit is extremely cheap. In fact, the combos the unit are in often make it much cheaper than smaller OCZ units.

    @MRFS: Facing the PSU up or down doesn't actually make a difference. There's a massive thread discussing this in the PSU section. At most, it's only fraction of degrees different. The only real benefit of facing the PSU down is that you can't drop screws into it, which isn't too hard to avoid.

    The Storm Sniper isn't a great case. It's expensive, yet smaller than other cheaper, high quality ones. Take a look at the Coolermaster 690, Antec 300, Antec 300 Illusion, Antec 900 (or 902) and HAF 922. That's pretty much a list of the best cases out there. All of those cases are just as good (if not better) than the Storm series of cases, yet cost less. There really isn't a huge difference between decent quality cases, so you should just go with a case you like.

    Honestly, I would go with the build I posted above, just swap in the X4 955. You could swap the HDD for the 1 TB (check out the Spinpoint F3's 1 TB. If it's the same price, get that one) and/or the Corsair RAM. That would get you the best performance for the lowest price.
  10. > Facing the PSU up or down doesn't actually make a difference.
    > There's a massive thread discussing this in the PSU section

    I don't care how "massive" that thread may be, and
    please don't try to start an argument with me:
    I'm not interested in arguing with anybody.

    Heat moves faster the greater the difference between
    the hot and the cold: when a PSU exceeds 50% utilization,
    it is good engineering practice to reduce the temperature
    of the input air as much as possible.

    Not everyone puts their computer in an air conditioned room,
    either, so ambient temperature is another relevant factor --
    particularly during hot summer weather.

    Take at the look at the threads complaining of failed
    motherboards and other failed components.

    How many PSUs actually notify the user if/when
    the integrated cooling fan has failed?


    I generally don't run with crowds anyway:
    my office has storage servers that are still running
    perfectly after 5 years of steady operation.

    Good engineering practices can save time and money
    that must be spent upgrading and/or repairing
    every 3 years (Intel's recommended upgrade cycle).

    Gee, do you think Intel might have an economic
    motive for that short cycle?

    p.s. I've built several CM 690s for friends,
    and our current CM Storm Sniper is superior,
    no question about it. The latest 690-II does
    have 6 HDDs bays compared to 5.

  11. It's not just a discussion, it's got extensive testing in it as well. I know it seems strange, but it's the truth. All PSUs are going to produce heat, it's just that it doesn't actually effect the temperature of the other parts of the build as much as you would think.

    I should also point out that with a 700W unit in the build I've proposed, the PSU would rarely (if ever) actually exceed 50% load. This makes the difference even less.

    I'm not saying the Storm cases aren't decent, I'm saying they're not worth the $130. Is the case really twice as good as the 690? Is it 50% better than the HAF 922? The answer is an obvious no. Cases really don't make that big of a difference. As long as you've got something quality (like pretty much everything from Antec, Coolermaster, Lian Li, Silverstone and many others), having a decent amount of fans (at least one front and one top/back), and fits everything you've picked out, there isn't much you'd need to pay more for. I honestly can say that I can't think of a single reason to spend more than $90 on a case. That'll get you the best case on the market, the HAF 922.
  12. +1 for the case and psu
  13. NZXT BETA EVO Classic Series CS-NT-BETA-EVO Black Computer Case
    Is this case good?

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition Deneb 3.2GHz Socket AM3 125W Quad-Core Processor HDZ955FBGMBOX

    MSI 890GXM-G65 AM3 AMD 890GX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
    This thing has a built in video card too. Can I somehow utilize this or should I just pick a cheaper card?

    OCZ Fatal1ty OCZ550FTY 550W ATX12V v2.2 / EPS12V SLI Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

    SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

    SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

    OCZ AMD Black Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model OCZ3BE1600C8LV4GK

    This ends up being $645 - $45 Mail in rebates = $600 woohoo.

    If the case is no good, i'd be willing to drop another $50 tops. Just need something that will be quiet and keep the inside cold without me having to learn how to install more fans/water cooling/etc. (at least for now, baby steps :D)

    Also, anyone use their financing? No interest for 12 months sounds sweet.
  14. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of NZXT cases. I think they're a little lower quality.

    You could use the onboard graphics, but it would only be good for running a second monitor for movies and such. It won't be very good to Crossfire onboard and a discrete card, as the onboard chip would hold it back too much.

    I haven't used Newegg's financing.
  15. That case should be fine. Just buy fans where the case can hold them, they are easier to install than the hardware itself.
    Why not pick up a 6gb/s HDD so you can utilize that mobo? It would probably be around 20 more, it's not necessary.
    for the video card ram combo. Unless ASUS makes shitty video cards I don't see why not. Cheaper and more rebates.
  16. Edit: Just kidding, it was plastic..
    It's similar to the case I'm getting, just no LED's. Again, buy fans for it =D

    FRONT, 1 x 120mm SIDE, 2 x 120mm TOP, 2 x 140/120mm REAR, 1 x 120mm(included)
    get the front and a top fan at the minimum.
  17. I'll point out that the SATA III HDDs aren't any faster than the cheaper SATA II drives. In fact, SATA III will never make a difference for standard drives. Mechanical drives simply can't move that fast.

    It's not that Asus makes bad GPUs, it's that OCZ makes bad RAM. I try to avoid them as much as possible because they have compatibility issues with a wide range of boards. The little bit you save isn't worth the hassle you may have to go through to get them to work.
  18. I don't know why I never made the connection that the platter doesn't spin any faster, so I'm guessing the only instance it would really be worth while is for a SSD?

    I've only heard of OCZ ram being bad once, which was just a certain batch they released. I guess it's best not to take chances though.
  19. The RAM in my combo says it was made for AMD. Theres no way there can be a compatibility issue..... right?

    And HD movies while I do work is the best. So now its a matter of case.

    I'll get that and TOP, 2 x 140/120mm fans (2 fans? Seems like a lot - but then again, I have no idea =D)

    Would the top fans be pulling the air out? What does the back fan do? works?

  20. SATA III will eventually make a difference for SSDs. It still doesn't right now, but give it a year or two. Including a USB 3/SATA III board is mainly for future proofing.

    Just because it says it was made for AMD or made for Intel doesn't mean anything. It's marketing. I'd avoid OCZ altogether.

    Both top and back fans pull are out. The front and side would be used to push air in. I'd really suggest that instead of buying a cheap case ($40) and two fans ($20), you just go look at some slightly more expensive cases. The Antec 300 Illusion and Coolermaster 690 are both excellent cases for relatively cheap prices. I believe they're both around $60, which is what you'd be paying for the case and fans above.
  21. I suggested that case because he doesn't want lights, unless I'm looking at a different build. And you can upgrade to even more fans in the future. And with the case I suggested, you know exactly what is going into it. I don't really see it as being a cheap case. Take the fans out of the Antec 300 and you have a 40 dollar case without fans, back to square one.

    If you get mine, you absolutely need a front fan to pull air in. Both of the top fans can be 140, or 120. Shoot for 140 ;]
    This ram has tighter timings, so it should run quicker.

    I also don't see a cd/dvd drive in your list.

    It gets the job done. Make sure you're getting everything you need, then I say pull the trigger.
  23. actually learned I got a old pc in my basement whose DVD drive i can use.

    That RAM says "Specifically Designed to compatible with Intel Core i5 and Core i7 for Intel P55 motherboard". Is it still fine? What does it mean to be designed for a specific processor?
  24. It doesn't matter. It just means that you may have to set the timings and speed to the manufacturer's specs in the BIOS.
  25. Alrighty then, last question and then I buy :D


    HIS has eyefinity which could be cool/useful since I have multiple displays. Which company is better Sapphire or HIS?
  26. both cards have eyefinity (any ati 5xxx card has eyefinity)
    the sapphire is higher quality and if i recall has longer warranty.
  27. GPU says PCI Express 2.1 x16
    Mobo says its only got PCI Express 2.0 x16 2, x16/x0 or x8/x8

    Is that still okay?
    -- did some research, 2.1 should be fully compatible with 2.0
    Opted to invest extra for a case - full size, seems like it'll last me a long long time and has quiet monster fans with LED lights that turn off.

    Just purchased everything :D
    Will try to post some pics of the whole thing once it arrives and I make my attempt at building it.

    Thanks all for your help!
  28. you are welcome
    now u can choose what u think is the best answer.
  29. Best answer selected by BakedBean.
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