My boyfriend has asked me to spec out and build a computer for him for his birthday. (He is paying for the parts.) He is primarily using the computer for writing/web browsing/programming etc. but wants something that will stand up to gaming as well, although it doesn't need to be a super ultra high powered gaming machine. Here's what I've come up with. Driver-wise, this will be running Windows 7 x64. I have never built or specced out a computer from scratch before so I was hoping on getting your opinions and advice. (And although I'm pretty sure I can do this, if I can't manage to figure it out, does anyone know any places in the Boston area that I can pay to do the assembly for me?) Thanks!
ATI Radeon HD 5850 OR GeForce GTX 470. Not sure which of these to get--I have also heard that they both have problems with multi-monitor setups; we will definitely be using them in a dual-monitor configuration. I'm not sure which card's problems are more serious.
Drag G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL (2x, for a total of 8GB)
Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH160G2R5 2.5" 160GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - I have my own doubts about SSD being worth the money but the boy really wants one, and he's paying, so who am I to judge?
Wow you're building a computer for your boyfriend? That has the be the hottest thing ever, i wish i had a girl like that.
Anyway, replace the Intel SSD with a Kingston one that supports TRIM. Also drop the capacity to about 40GB, you only want the SSD to contain operating system and maybe some programs that get used a lot and want fast boot times on. Get a good 1TB HDD for the rest of the storage needs (Samsung Spinpoint F3).
I'd recommend the 5850 over the 470, significantly cheaper, runs cooler, less power consumption and only a fraction slower than the 470.
Since all the parts are up to date type things, Windows 7 64bit drivers won't be an issue at all.
Btw, not sure if programming etc requires a lot of RAM, but filling all 4 memory slots will take the memory out of dual channel mode, thus making the overall memory run slower. This will negatively impact gaming, but if a lot of RAM is needed for his work then fine.
Thanks for the responses, they were very helpful! We were definitely planning on getting a large external HDD but hadn't considered going down to 40BG for the main disk...I will check the price differential (as well as the price diff on the PSUs). Will also consider going with 2X 4GB to keep some of the slots open, I didn't know about the dual-channel thing. Regarding the drive manufacturer, I'd always heard that Intel's SSDs were the best (and I'm pretty sure the one I'm looking at supports TRIM) but I will look at the Kingston stuff too, I know the state of the art in SSDs is changing fast.
I'm rereading all the manuals, and the reviews for most of the hardware show you how to install the components. there are also youtube videos. The advice I've seen th e most was to be careful w/ the screws. Going to start building tomorrow (mobo/cpu/cooler/psu) and then dvdrw/ssd/hdd/ram on monday.
Great build. Again, I would also not recommend geting 8gb of ram, its totally overkill. the money could be spent on graphics so you're in the price range of 460's in SLI, which is the best bang for buck atm. still, you cant really go wrong with 5850's ^_^
I personally would stick with intel or ocz if you're going SSD route. I upgraded from a 300gb velociraptor to the normal vertex and the difference was still huge, so I'd definitely recommend it over traditional hard drive. However, unlike Griffolion i'd recommend the 80gb intel x25-m. 40gb is quite small, and windows 7 64-bit took up ~15gb, leaving you only 25gb for your frequently used apps and games, and some games nowadays take up a lot more than 10gb, so you'd only be able to get 2-3 games on there, max.
lastly, if he's gunna be overclocking that i5 (and he better be, such a waste not to!) you should look into an aftermarket cooling solution. the prolimatech megahalems is a good one as well as the TRUE, but imo they're both pretty ugly heatsinks and since the case has a window, the aesthetics would put me off.. thats actually the reason why i went for my V8 The cooler master V6 GT performs well but I have no idea how much it costs in the U.S since i live in new zealand.