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Questions from a non gamer

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October 15, 2010 2:16:53 AM

Hi all,

I built a few systems back in the early naughties but have mostly made use of hand-me-downs since then. Now I'd like to get back into it again. So much has changed since then though and it's hard to get back up to speed, I'm hoping you all can help me build an optimal system.

As mentioned in the subject, I'm not a gamer. This system will be running Ubuntu with a Windows product either in dual boot or as a VM. I'd like to use it as a file server so my wife and I can share our family pictures, videos, music, etc. So I'd like to setup a RAID for redundancy. So I'm thinking about possibly 3 hard drives, depending on cost.

Another thing I'd like to do is stream movies from netflix, possibly while running Windows in a VM on Ubuntu (not sure if this makes sense). Also watch movies from a blueray player. So I'd like to have a decent video card but certainly don't need anything super fancy.

One other notes, I don't buy computers often so I'd like this one to last. Meaning I'd like to get a computer that isn't going to be out of date in a year.

As for price range, I'd like to keep it close to $500 but can go higher if warranted.

So what do you think?

Thanks!

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Best solution

a c 136 B Homebuilt system
October 15, 2010 7:58:48 AM

All computers are out of date in a year .

But you should probably build something like this

AMD Athlon x3 or X4 processor . 3 or 4 actual processors packaged together meaning your VM's have their own resources . The x3 is an x4 but one core is disabled , possibly because its faulty

MB with a 785 G or 880G chipset so you dont need a graphics card . 880G preferred .

4 GB of RAM . 2 x2 gig kit in dual channel . 1333 MHz and low latency will be more than fine .

The fasted conventional drives are noisy for office use . A green drive from Western Digital will be aslower but easily fast enough and you wont hear it

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a b B Homebuilt system
October 15, 2010 10:46:53 AM

Since Linux in on the cards


AMD Phenom II X6 1090T reviewed (for Linux developers) | What Digital Revolution?
Quote:
As anyone who does Linux development knows, going multithreaded is usually as simple as typing “make -jN”, where N is the number of parallel jobs that you want to execute while building your app (normally N = number of cores/processors + 1). At $200/$300 per processor, that would make the X6 a bargain-basement priced high-power workstation (Intel’s current six-core offering, the Core i7 9xx series, is actually faster than the X6 but also costs +$1000, out of the reach of mortals and students like myself).


Basic Template: no SSD with OS from $602AR
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Related resources
October 15, 2010 4:59:51 PM

Go Newegg!!!! I love that site!
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October 15, 2010 5:02:23 PM

Case: Rosewill R102-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 30$
Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 60$
Mobo: MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 70$
PSU: Rosewill Green Series RG430-S12 430W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS Certified, Single 12V Rail, Active PFC "Compatible with Core i7,i5" Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 45$
Ram: G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-6400CL5D-4GBNT
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 72$
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 640 Propus 3.0GHz 4 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor ADX640WFGMBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 100$
Os: Windows 7 home premium
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... 100$
Blu-ray drive: LITE-ON Black 4X BD-ROM 8X DVD-ROM 32X CD-ROM SATA Internal 4X Blu-ray Reader Model iHOS104-06 - OEM 50$

Total: 527$

With this build youll be able to buy a decent video card later and one or 2 more hard drives



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October 15, 2010 7:40:03 PM

Hey everyone, thanks for the great feedback.

A few questions. Everyone seems to like the AMD chips over the Intel chips. Why? Don't get me wrong, I definitely would prefer going with AMD, but Intel chips seem to perform better per reviews I've read. Hard to say whether to go with the Athlon II X4 or the Phenon II X6 (besides the obvious price difference). One concern is noise. I'd like to leave it on continuously so the files will be accessible to my wife on our network. One of the reviews mentioned the Phenon II is on the louder side.

It appeared that I could upgrade from an Athlon II X4 to an Athlon Phenom II X6 without changing anything else, is that right?

Is a MicroATX case big enough to handle 3 or 4 hard drives?

Thanks all!
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 15, 2010 8:19:56 PM

AMD is the best bang for buck under $1000. Intel starts being competitive around $900, and the more expensive it gets the more Intel runs away with it, up t the 980x, a $1000 processor :) 
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a c 136 B Homebuilt system
October 15, 2010 11:37:19 PM

griztown said:
Hey everyone, thanks for the great feedback.

A few questions. Everyone seems to like the AMD chips over the Intel chips. Why? Don't get me wrong, I definitely would prefer going with AMD, but Intel chips seem to perform better per reviews I've read. Hard to say whether to go with the Athlon II X4 or the Phenon II X6 (besides the obvious price difference). One concern is noise. I'd like to leave it on continuously so the files will be accessible to my wife on our network. One of the reviews mentioned the Phenon II is on the louder side.

It appeared that I could upgrade from an Athlon II X4 to an Athlon Phenom II X6 without changing anything else, is that right?

Is a MicroATX case big enough to handle 3 or 4 hard drives?

Thanks all!


core for core , MHz for MHz intel wins
dollar for dollar AMD almost always wins

And in your case you need more cores not more powerful cores , so AMD is the choice .
Most AMD motherboards on sale today can use the X6 processors . Some might need a BIOS update . By checking out the motherboard manufacturers web page you will find a cpu compatibility list .

AMD's range of 3 and 4 core Athlon and Phenom are essentially the same part , with either cores or part of the onboard cache disabled . This means you can get great value with an X4 athlon

Its not impossible to be able to fit that many hard drives in to an m-ATX case . Even if it doesnt have specific mounts for them you can just use the adhesive backed velcro to hold them in place on side panels or the floor of the case . A couple of strips about 3 inches long is plenty, and it even works to isolate vibrations .
But I would stick with an ATX case .
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October 16, 2010 1:25:02 AM

So if I go with an ATX case, can I still use the micro ATX motherboard? If not, which mobo would you all recommend?

The Rosewill Challenger was highly rated by this site. Is there a better option for a non-gamer.

I'm stunned at how cheap hard drivers are. I've had good luck with Western Digital in the past, any reason to steer clear of them these days? I guess I'd prefer quiet over blazing speeds.
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October 16, 2010 1:26:14 AM

Also, what about a cooler for the CPU assuming I go with a Phenom II X6? Thanks!
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 16, 2010 4:06:28 AM

1. Yes all/any mid tower ATX could house mATX mobos
2. Ya hdds (mechanical ones) are dirt cheap but i would rate the Samsung F3 > WD Blacks
3. CM Hyper 212+, Scythe YASYA/Mugen2, etc
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October 19, 2010 9:27:45 PM

I was looking at mobo and came across the 890gx chipset, namely the GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H. It's more expensive but has support for RAID 5 and 6.0Gb/s SATA support. Am I throwing away money here or would this be a benefit? I know I can do RAID 5 on the software side but seems easier doing through the Mobo.

Thanks
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2010 12:50:59 AM

RAID can be done on any of the 800-series motherboards (870, 880, 890), but nowadays, its usually considered better to go with an SSD for speed. Raid is usually just for redundancy
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October 20, 2010 1:09:44 AM

Well, my interest is in redundancy. What are your thoughts on going with an 890 versus a 790?
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2010 1:28:22 AM

the 890 is the very latest chipset, introduced this year. If you're going for the expense of the top level chipset, go ahead & get the newest one.
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a b B Homebuilt system
October 20, 2010 3:30:49 AM

griztown said:
I was looking at mobo and came across the 890gx chipset, namely the GIGABYTE GA-890GPA-UD3H. It's more expensive but has support for RAID 5 and 6.0Gb/s SATA support. Am I throwing away money here or would this be a benefit? I know I can do RAID 5 on the software side but seems easier doing through the Mobo.

Thanks


If Gigabyte is still using the Marvell controller for the S-ata 6Gb/s then it's a waste. I have it on the UD3R and it makes no difference.
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October 20, 2010 11:36:23 AM

Yeah. From what I've read, most drives can't take advantage of that speed and even if it could it might cause bottlenecks elsewhere. But I still like the RAID 5 capability. I found this Biostar version for less than $100.

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

Does anyone know a cheaper better mobo with RAID 5, built in video, HDMI, etc?
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November 12, 2010 2:22:03 AM

Okay, I've been reading a lot about virtualization and have decided to go with the ASUS M4A89TD PRO/USB3 AM3 AMD 890FX mobo and the AMD Phenom II X6 1090T CPU. What should I pair this with for memory, case, PSU, HDD, and most importantly GPU? I don't want a supper high end video card, just something good and reliable.

Thanks for your help.
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November 18, 2010 11:29:56 PM

Best answer selected by griztown.
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