Seeking Build Adivce Please

Hi All,

I am looking to upgrade my system I built in 2007 and have been reading around here for ideas. Right now I use my PC mainly as a media server to my two XBOX 360s in the house, with the occasional home video editing and Photoshop use. For media, I intend to backup a lot of my favorite DVDs and stream them on my network. I have a wireless N router and also ran an ethernet line to my XBOX that is far away from the router. When I use Photoshop, I use a lot of layers (I color comic books).

So, the main thing I want is faster DVD backup, faster applications (like PS, DVD Decrypter/Handbrake) and faster startup. I have been playing games on the 360 for some time now, and probably won't PC game again until the SW MMORPG comes out.

Also, occasionally this PC just freezes (1 – 2 times a week). IT often happens when I leave it on for a long time. The system is locked up and I have to manually power it down when that happens. Any thoughts on what may cause that, or how I can diagnose this problem?

Current Specs

OS: Windows 7 64 bit

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor BX80557E6600


Memory: Kingston ValueRAM 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N6K2/4G

Graphics Card: MSI N9600GT-MD 512

Power Supply: EchoStar 600 watt

Hard Drive: WD Caviar Blue 500GB 7200 RPM

DVD Rom: LG H10L

So my thoughts are:

1) It is time for a new case, as I have been using this one for 6 years or so and it getting beat up and is noisy. I would like a case with a black interior and rounded edges on the inside so I don't cut myself when messing around inside it.

2) New CPU, Mobo, and Mem.

3) New SSD drive for faster applications

4) Possibly a new DVD drive to backup faster.

5) Possibly a larger/faster Hard-drive for the media collection.

6) New power supply if necessary (I bought a cheap one my last build)

7) Hang onto my graphics card for the time being.

I would like to make this upgrade over the next couple of months. Maybe starting with the Case/PU to see if it improves my stability. I would like to spend around $800. I can spend more over time if necessary for some of the optional stuff (like a bigger hard-drive).

Basically, I am thinking about making the current Enthusiast build but keeping my hard drive and graphics card.

The price point between the I7-760 and i7 -870 is only $80 bucks, so why not go for the 860, right? I am assuming it is better; I don't understand CPUs too much.

Also, for this price point, should I go with a SSD or just a faster new hard-drive?

For memory, is 4 gigs enough? Should I go for 8?

Also, I read that Intel is coming out with new CPUs in the new calandar year. Should I wait for those CPU/motherboards to upgrade then?

Finally, would a DVD upgrade pay off when ripping?
7 answers Last reply
More about seeking build adivce please
  1. Wow that is a lot of stuff to throw into one thread. Do you live near a Micro Center of a Frys? There are good deals on CPUs at the former, and a couple of good deals on cases at the later.

    $800 is going to get you essentially a new machine, especially if you are not going to spend a bunch on graphics.

    1) Get a nice case, since you are going to keep it for multiple builds. Do you have room for a full tower? Cooler master HAF is on sale at Frys for $120. They also have a Mid tower CM Scout for $60. Here is a Newegg choice: Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case for $115 after rebate. Both Antec and Cooler Master have black interiors and decent finishes. Lian Li also makes very good caes, but typically has a bare Aluminum interior, at least the ones I have seen in the $100 +/- range.

    2) I like the i7-870 CPU - it ranks right there with a an i7-930 but uses less power, cheaper motherboard and RAM. It is selling for $200 at MicroCenter (compared to $160 for the i5-760), so the price difference is even less at that source. You can get decent CPU/mobo or mobo/RAM combos on Newegg when you are ready. Yes, there will be all sorts of stuff coming out next year from both AMD and Intel, and it will certainly affect prices of existing hardware.

    3) An SSD is going to give you an immediate kick, and is compatible with your current configuration. If you want to phase in the upgrade, take this step first. A clean install of your OS on here will most likely clean up your hanging issues. I suspect your problems are a result of malware/virus infections on your system. Plan on getting something in the 60 to 64 GB range. Here is a nice modeal: OCZ Agility Series OCZSSD2-1AGT60G 2.5" 60GB for $90 after rebate

    4) A new DVD will basically cut your burning time in half. 24X models go for around $20 bucks these days.

    5) A third hard drive is a good idea for that huge file collection - consider a green drive spinning at 5400 rpm. 2TB are running cose to $100 on sale.

    6) Yes, time to get a new PSU. Antec, Seasonic, Corsair, XFX are a few good models. 600 W should be fine.

    7) Good idea to hang onto the graphics card. Let nVidia and AMD duke it out some more - the prices are bound to come down.

    4 GB of RAM is plenty unless you are doing heavy video editing.
  2. fpr $800, you can get an entirely different computer, an AMD Hex-core system with a large SSD, especially if you aren't buying a new video card. This build is $798. the 6 core processor will be better at multitasking, and much better at photoshop. The one throttle point on this build will be your 9600GT card. It'll work for what you are doing, but you'll want to upgrade to an NVidia 4xx or AMD 5xxx/6xxx by the time star wars is out.

    For starters, we spend more than 50% of the budget on an AMD Phenom II X6 1090t 3.2 GHz and a 100GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD, in combo, $470.98

    Next, we have as AS Rock 880GMH Motherboard. It has USB 3, but only SATA-2. Not a big deal, as even SSDs don't saturate SATA 2 yet, $84.99

    4 GB of Mushkin DDR 1333 RAM, the cheapest on newegg right now: $69.99

    The OCZ Fatal1ty 550W Power supply is modular, ad 80+ certified. Its paired in this combo with the very fast Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB drive, $119.98

    and to house it, we don't need a 100+ case, so we use the Rosewill Destroyer, which has less shipping costs than the Challenger, plus a 24x DVD burner: $51.98

    total $797.92. plus shipping, minus $35 in rebates

    if you want a decent video card, you could step down the combo from the 1090t + 100 GB SSD to a 1055T + 60 GB, which is $325.98

    The $145 saved is enough to buy an HD 5770 graphics card

    New total $797.91, plus shipping, minus $50 in rebates.
  3. The i7-870 has hyper-threading (two threads can be run on each core) and the i5-750 doesn't. The applications you use benefit significantly from hyper-threading unlike, for example, gaming.

    Benchmarks to take into consideration:

    AMD Phenom II X6 1090T vs. i7-870

    Adobe Photoshop CS 5 (Lower is better)
    Intel Core i7-870: 107
    AMD Phenom II X6 1090T: 121,2426.html

    Handbrake (MPEG-2 to H.264) (Lower is better)
    Intel Core i7-870: 70
    AMD Phenom II X6 1090T: 71,2421.html

    Mainconcept Reference v2.0 (MPEG-2 to H.264/AVC) (Lower is better)
    Intel Core i7-870: 70
    AMD Phenom II X6 1090T: 71,2424.html

    If you live near a Micro Center, the i7-870 is much more efficient, a little faster, and $30 cheaper. If you don't, it's $14 more. You do have to factor in that P55/H55 motherboards cost ~$25 than AM3 ones with similar features.
  4. However, the 1055T is 33% less expensive but only 12% slower than the 1090T. That makes it a very attractive price/performance part.
  5. Guys, thanks so much for the advice. I am reading through your feedback and surfing the net looking at these options. I will keep you all posted.

    To be honest, I didn't even consider AMD, since Intel was superior at the time of my last build, I figured it was still a better option. Silly me.

    My thought right now is that I will do this in two phases, with the case, PSU, DVD burner and SSD first. I may then do the CPU upgrade in phase 2.
  6. OK guys, I am going to do this in 2 increments. Right now I am considering:



    DVD Burner

    How does all that sound? Am I making any mistakes here? I think I picked a good SSD, it has fast read/write speeds compared to the other ones I saw on Newegg. I am not too sure what to look for in an SSD.

    If there is something better in that price range (400 for everything) please let me know. I will probably order this tomorrow.
  7. ^ Yes on the Case & PSU combo. Yes, get the Agility 2.
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