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Advice for a Mixed Use $1000-1500

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September 13, 2010 2:23:59 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: 1-2 weeks


Budget Range: $1000-1500 After Rebates; obviously cheaper is better


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, CAD, Video editing


Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, tigerdirect, amazon, etc... any reputable source with the cheapest part


Country of Origin: USA


Overclocking: Yes


SLI or Crossfire: Eventually in a future upgrade


Monitor Resolution: tbd, but most likely 1920x1080


Additional Comments: Looking for pure performance at a decent value. Looks and name brands don't matter. Minimal power consumption would be nice, but is not a requirement. I am also considering upgrading to a SSD at some point, but right now they are out of my price range.

The parts I'm considering are:

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 922

Power Supply: Could use some help here. Is this overkill or is there a cheaper option out there? CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V

Motherboard: Right now I'm thinking the ASUS P6X58D Premium, but would consider the P6X58D-E or the P6T. I'm also open to any other recommendations out there.

Processor:Intel i7 950 since there isn't much price difference between the 930 now.

Heatsink: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212

Memory: Corsair XMS3 Tri Channel 6GB PC12800 DDR3 Memory - 1600MHz

Hard Drive: 1tb Samsung Spinpoint F3

Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc OEM

Video Card: This is where I need the most help. I don't want to spend more than ~400. As far as gaming, if I can run games on medium to medium-high settings, I will be happy. Video editing and CAD shouldn't be too intense, but I want to be able to render a moderately complex model if necessary.

OS: Windows 7 Pro

Monitor: Any suggestions on a 22+/- inch monitor are welcome. My only requirement would be that it doesn't bottleneck whichever graphics card I end up going with.

Any other suggestions on this build are welcome. Also, if you are aware of any combo deals out there, that would be great too. Thank you all in advance.

More about : advice mixed 1000 1500

September 13, 2010 2:58:32 AM

Looking over your 950 configuration, you've selected some very good parts.

If your gaming needs are moderate as you describe (1920 resolution or less, and willing to compromise settings on some games to avoid $$$), you really needn't go for the i7 950. An i5 750 will be a strong performer for you, saving money, power, heat, and perhaps cooling fan noise vs the 950.

Here's a sample i5 750 configuration to check out. It uses a different version of the case you selected, an equal quality but appropriately lower power psu, and some parts you chose:

Intel Core i5-750 $195
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115215

GIGABYTE GA-P55-USB3 $120
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128425

G.SKILL NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231396

Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W $80
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371015

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185

Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner $20
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118039

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116754&cm_re=windows_7_home_premium_64_bit-_-32-116-754-_-Product

COOLER MASTER HAF 912 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233

ZOTAC ZT-40402-10P GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500169

That's about $950 (though you would need to substitute Win7 Pro if that's your need) if prices haven't changed since yesterday lol.

For gaming at 1920, you will spend ~$220 for a 24" monitor. You might be satisfied with the performance of an HD 5770 saving ~$70 from the base configuration.

For gaming at 1680, you will spend ~$160 for the monitor, and use an HD 5750 saving ~$80 from the base configuration.

Either config should work very well for your other needs.
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September 13, 2010 9:45:21 AM

Eh, could probably go AMD x6+8GB of ram for less. 1055t can be had for 178$ at Newegg combo'd with BFBC2.

For CAD and video editing I would be looking into an IPS monitor, Dell U series comes to mind.
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September 13, 2010 7:06:32 PM

You have a good list of parts.
To answer some of your issues:

1) The corsair 850 is a good unit, but probably stronger than you will ever need. As an alternative, how about the XFX750?
It is a bit cheaper after rebate, it is modular, and silver certified. It will run any single graphics card out there, and most in sli/crossfire.

2) It is wise to wait a bit on the SSD. I love them, they make everything feel much snappier. Gen 3 units are due out soon, and should be bigger, vaster, and cheaper. Plan ahead by using AHCI and setting aside a suitably sized partition on your 1tb drive.

3) How about the Asus Sabertooth motherboard? It looks to have all the new features, and a good price?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

4) With a high end cpu, and an interest in gaming, get a good graphics card. I suggest a GTX460 1gb model. It will do very well at 1920 x 1200. It also scales very well in SLI if you should ever need more. It is less than your $400 budget, but should serve you well for modest gaming. I like the external exhaust models
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5) Get a 1920 x 1200 monitor instead of a 1080P(1920 x 1080) monitor. Look at the viewing angle, 178/178 is the best, 160/160 is what you will see for cheaper units. Most monitors are decent, I like Samsung, they make the panels for many others, and I think they keep the best samples for themselves.

6) Download and read, cover to cover the motherboard and case manuals.

7) The i5-750 approach that twoboxer mentioned is also a viable one, but I would go with more than 4gb of ram if possible.

---good luck---
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September 13, 2010 8:43:44 PM

Thanks for all the info so far!

I know the i5-750 is really all I need, but I'm having difficulty turning down the i7-950 for the additional $100 since I have the money and it has been 5+ years now since my last new build.

The GTX460 seems to be what I am looking for and definitely fits the budget with the option to upgrade in SLI later.

One question on the PSU though, will a 650 be fine if I do eventually go SLI on the 460, or would the 750 be the safer option?
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September 13, 2010 8:57:41 PM

A quality 650W will suffice for 2x460, since running (Furmark) max graphics will only draw 480W at the wall, ~430 from your psu. Add a cushion for also running driving your cpu hard, as in a game, and you still are operating at under 80% of the 650's capacity.

There's nothing wrong with using a 750W - its just not the first place to allocate money if funds are limited.

$80 Seasonic 650W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151091

$100 Antec Earthwatts 750W http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371026
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September 13, 2010 9:04:43 PM

Running furmark dual 460s pull ~528 watts for an i7 system.... IMO a 650 is fine, but 430 from the PSU is pretty much false.
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September 13, 2010 9:21:34 PM

Don't let anybody talk you out of the bigger PSU. The bigger the better. One of the worst mistakes (and most often made) any DIY can make is overworking the PSU. The bigger PSU will pay you dividends you'll never know about.
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September 13, 2010 9:31:59 PM

I'm sure you don't, but Toms is not my pick for accurate energy benchmarking. Heck, their Nvidia benchmarks in general are at odds with the majority most of the time.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/181
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September 13, 2010 10:08:21 PM

techno_rabbit said:
Thanks for all the info so far!

I know the i5-750 is really all I need, but I'm having difficulty turning down the i7-950 for the additional $100 since I have the money and it has been 5+ years now since my last new build.

The GTX460 seems to be what I am looking for and definitely fits the budget with the option to upgrade in SLI later.

One benefit of a i7-950 based system is the superior triple channel ram capability. Not so much for the speed, as the ease of using 6gb which is a sweet spot for ram capacity in general. You might even consider using 3 x 4gb(12gb) as your starting ram for video editing. There is not much of a price premium for 4gb sticks.

One question on the PSU though, will a 650 be fine if I do eventually go SLI on the 460, or would the 750 be the safer option?


EVGA is a solid vendor, this superclocked GTX460 unit comes with a lifetime warranty:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
As a single card it only requires a 450w psu with 24a and two 6 pin pci-e connectors.

The XFX unit I referenced earlier has 62a on the 12v lines, and 4 pci-e connectors. More than enough for two GTX460 cards.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Actually the XFX650w unit would be enough, but for only $10 more after rebate, I like the silver efficiency certification, and a few more amps capability.
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September 13, 2010 11:11:41 PM

sp12 said:
I'm sure you don't, but Toms is not my pick for accurate energy benchmarking. Heck, their Nvidia benchmarks in general are at odds with the majority most of the time.

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/Product/181


I believe those power numbers come from two OC'd cards . . .

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3810/nvidias-geforce-gtx-460-part-2-the-vendor-cards/8

If so, this may point out a weakness in Anand's "bench", though not in his reviews, which like Tom's, I respect.
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September 13, 2010 11:13:19 PM

Nope, everything's stock.
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September 14, 2010 12:23:48 AM

OK, here is the latest build:

Case: COOLER MASTER HAF 912 $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6811119233

Power Supply: Corsair TX750 $100
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...

Processor:Sticking with the Intel i7 950 just because i can... $300

Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth $200
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813131665

Heatsink: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Memory: Corsair XMS3 Tri Channel 6GB PC12800 DDR3 Memory - 1600MHz $130

Hard Drive: 1tb Samsung Spinpoint F3 $75

Optical Drive: Sony Optiarc OEM $20

OS: Windows 7 Pro $140

Video Card: ZOTAC ZT-40402-10P GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6814500169

Monitor: Acer H243Hbmid 24"
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Let me know what you think
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September 14, 2010 12:25:14 AM

XFX black edition 750 from Newegg is nicer and cheaper. Modular, silver efficiency, better Vreg.

But it 'only' has a 5 year warranty.
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September 14, 2010 12:35:56 AM

The XFX 750 is acutally $10 more than the Corsair TX750, but you are right, it is much nicer. The extra $10 is probably worth the silver rating and being modular though.
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September 14, 2010 12:40:57 AM

Sorry, I was counting the MIR in the price for 90.5$ AR.
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