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Midrange home workstation with an upgrade path

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September 14, 2010 4:05:53 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: This fall; in the next 1-2 months.


Budget Range: $500-800


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Adobe Photoshop (CS4 or better), (HD) video transcoding, watching HD media, web browsing, MS Office, Ableton Live and/or Traktor, VMware, occasional gaming.


Parts Not Required: 23 inch "1080p" monitor with DVI, keyboard, mouse, possibly a "secondary" hard drive (I have a 1TB SATA hd in a usb enclosure with some back-ups, might transfer it into the next case)


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, but open to any reputable retailer


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: Intel CPUs (can go AMD in some cases), nVidia gfx cards


Overclocking: Maybe, but not a priority


SLI or Crossfire: Maybe, but not a priority


Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (current max of owned monitor) and up


Additional Comments: My current primary machine is a 4 year old laptop (AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-56, 2GB RAM, 250GB HD, ATI Radeon Xpress 1150, Win 7 x86) out of which I have been squeezing the best of my time in college, but alas this laptop is starting to fail in various ways and I am starting to feel the ceiling of what this machine can do for me. Below are some other criteria I have for the machine that didn't fit into questions above.

* Most of the initial spending should be allocated to components I would keep the longest: CPU, motherboard, 2+ GB RAM, PSU, case. I want this built to be a more basic PC at first that I can slowly upgrade over the next couple of years. I would like these core parts to be from more reputable manufacturers (mostly concerns motherboard and RAM, I think).

* I don't want a huge case with lots of cheesy lights. I would like a smaller desktop with a minimal design. I am a big fan of this Dell Optiplex case design and generally like a black matte finish.

* A friend of mine recommended this cheaper card and this "money splurge" card as possibly options. Just throwing those out there for evaluation.

I am open to any sort of further questions and I will probably add further comments based on what people suggest because I am sure I am missing something.

Best solution

September 14, 2010 4:44:16 AM
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^ For your requirements, IMO the AMD 6-Core 1055T is better...Helps a lot in video and also has pretty good performance in CS4 too...
Here is a setup...
1055T + MSI 870A
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM - Mushkin Silverline 4GB DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video card - Definitely this one -
EVGA GTS 450
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung F3 500GB + OCZ Fatality 550W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

DVD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE + OS
This is a very good case with very good airflow, but is little bigger
CM 690 + OS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

but if you want a compact case, then this would be a good option -
CM Elite 360 + OS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
But an additional fan would be very good to move the air inside that case...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
September 14, 2010 6:45:43 AM

gkay09 said:
^ For your requirements, IMO the AMD 6-Core 1055T is better...Helps a lot in video and also has pretty good performance in CS4 too...
Here is a setup...
1055T + MSI 870A
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM - Mushkin Silverline 4GB DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Video card - Definitely this one -
EVGA GTS 450
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung F3 500GB + OCZ Fatality 550W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

DVD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE + OS
This is a very good case with very good airflow, but is little bigger
CM 690 + OS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

but if you want a compact case, then this would be a good option -
CM Elite 360 + OS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
But an additional fan would be very good to move the air inside that case...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



A few questions:
1. What are the pros and cons of an AMD processor? It looks like the 1055T plays pretty close to some i7s in terms of performance for way less, so I am wondering if there are any trade-offs or things to keep in mind. Also, I assume I can upgrade to 1090T if I wish.

2. Besides the combo deal, any other reason for this motherboard? My main concerns are the the on-board audio and the fact that it doesn't support SLI (if I ever decided to use it). Are there motherboards that do AMD CPUs and SLI? More importantly, is there there a better option for a motherboard?

3. Both of those cases look kind of tacky to me, sorry :[. Any other ideas? Also, I don't need an OS.

Above all, thanks!
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September 14, 2010 7:06:58 AM

1. The only trade-off with that CPU is the gaming performance, but once when overclocked, that wont matter. Also AMD CPUs are budget oriented, which helps them stay in the market.

2. There are no specific reasons...
Also SLI with AMD is not as good as Crossfire with AMD...but if you want SLI, then this mobo - but no USB3.0/ SATA 6GB/s though...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

3. CASE - It is more of personal choice, so its fine...
Some other options -
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
September 14, 2010 11:43:01 AM

For occasional gaming rather then settle for a lower end GPU and splash on mobo which never see its features remotely utilised the better choice is just a better GPU say like the GTX 460 and a no frills mobo ^^ HD 6k and the Nvidia riposte incoming does not make CF/SLI sound like a good idea ...not that i ever advocate multi GPU set ups for the most part hehe

So starting with the mid end of that budget range:
$673AR with 2 free games in ^^
September 21, 2010 6:02:41 AM

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