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Photo editing/home theater - First build. $900 budget

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November 4, 2010 12:21:27 PM

Hello,

I’m getting ready to build my first box and could use some advice. Here are the parameters: I don’t do much gaming, but I’d like a fast processor because I do a lot of multi-tasking work with Adobe software, along with video/audio editing, etc. I’ll be hooking up one VM specifically to run the Adobe stuff. I’d like a pretty hefty amount of memory for my projects as well (meaning, I’d like to save all of them in an uncompressed format without a second thought). I will be hooking this rig up to an HDTV as the full-time monitor and plan on watching a fair amount of movies/TV through it, so I want to make sure I’m set with the right graphics cards, video inputs, etc. Budget is somewhat limited in that I’d like to stay somewhere in the $750-$900 range, though I feel that should still be plenty to give me more than enough capability to get the components I’d like. (I already have the TV). However, I'd be willing to spend a little more if anyone suggests an upgrade that makes a lot of sense.

Here’s what I’ve compiled thus far:

-Intel Core i5-760 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor

-GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3 LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

-Biostar VN9603TH52 GeForce 9600 GT Video Card - 512MB GDDR3, PCI Express 2.0, DVI, HDMI, VGA

-G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory (Can add a second one anytime...)

-Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

-Sony Optiarc Black 24X DVD Burner

-Sunbeam Freezing-Storm IC-FS-BK Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

-Rosewill Green Series RG530-S12 530W Continuous @40°C, 80 PLUS Certified, Single 12V Rail Power Supply

I haven’t yet selected a TV tuner, so if anyone’s got one in mind, I’d love to hear about it. Also, I’m not really sure about all the different cables to buy – especially when it comes to the monitor/HDTV connection. I’ve read a few people’s comments who say that an HDMI cable doesn’t afford them the fullest resolution possible.

Again, any advice y’all could give would be greatly appreciated. The act of simply picking out all of the components and making sure they work together is a daunting one, especially when it’s your first build. I have to imagine that it’s much more exciting to put it all together and then finally put everything to use…

Thanks for the help everybody!
November 4, 2010 3:25:01 PM

If you are set on the i5-760, I can spec out a system based on that for cheaper but here is my recommendation. It has plenty of processing and memory for your multitasking and a good enough video card for your home theatre pleasure. It can handle gaming as well at 1080p at low to medium settings, or high settings at a lower resolution should you choose to game on it.

CPU and HSF: i7-950 and Cooler Master Hyper 212+ $309.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GPU and MOBO: Gigabyte GTS450 and Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 $269.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W $69.99 (10% off promo for today only)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE and DVD: Antec Three Hundred and Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner $74.94
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

TOTAL Price: $899.87

You don't really need a TV tuner unless you plan to watch and record TV through your PC (which you would still need to subscribe to whatever broadcasting to get it). The HDMI out on the GPU is more than plenty to output flawless 1080p to your HDTV, just remember to connect the SPDIF cable to also get audio out to your TV if you plan on using those speakers.
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November 4, 2010 3:36:38 PM

kureme said:
If you are set on the i5-760, I can spec out a system based on that for cheaper but here is my recommendation. It has plenty of processing and memory for your multitasking and a good enough video card for your home theatre pleasure. It can handle gaming as well at 1080p at low to medium settings, or high settings at a lower resolution should you choose to game on it.

CPU and HSF: i7-950 and Cooler Master Hyper 212+ $309.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GPU and MOBO: Gigabyte GTS450 and Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 $269.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W $69.99 (10% off promo for today only)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE and DVD: Antec Three Hundred and Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner $74.94
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

TOTAL Price: $899.87

You don't really need a TV tuner unless you plan to watch and record TV through your PC (which you would still need to subscribe to whatever broadcasting to get it). The HDMI out on the GPU is more than plenty to output flawless 1080p to your HDTV, just remember to connect the SPDIF cable to also get audio out to your TV if you plan on using those speakers.



Good build, but may be overkill for hometheatre / edit system?
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November 4, 2010 4:23:58 PM

kureme said:
If you are set on the i5-760, I can spec out a system based on that for cheaper but here is my recommendation. It has plenty of processing and memory for your multitasking and a good enough video card for your home theatre pleasure. It can handle gaming as well at 1080p at low to medium settings, or high settings at a lower resolution should you choose to game on it.

CPU and HSF: i7-950 and Cooler Master Hyper 212+ $309.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GPU and MOBO: Gigabyte GTS450 and Gigabyte GA-X58-USB3 $269.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

RAM: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair CMPSU-650TX 650W $69.99 (10% off promo for today only)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE and DVD: Antec Three Hundred and Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner $74.94
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

TOTAL Price: $899.87

You don't really need a TV tuner unless you plan to watch and record TV through your PC (which you would still need to subscribe to whatever broadcasting to get it). The HDMI out on the GPU is more than plenty to output flawless 1080p to your HDTV, just remember to connect the SPDIF cable to also get audio out to your TV if you plan on using those speakers.


Geez! I was bummed that no one was replying to my first post, but now I get a great and wonderfully researched response. Thanks!

I love your recommended build, but it does add up to about $150 more than my posted, so I might question a few things...

CPU: Do you really think it worth my while to jump in price? I understand the i7 is the superior chip but, considering that my current computer runs a Pentium 4 2.6 GHz, I feel like I'll be blown away enough by the i5 to save the extra hundo. I'm not ruling it out -- I just feel like, unless there's a good reason for the bump up, I'll probably be more than happy with the i5.

MOBO: The mobo I listed was up there solely because it was a combo deal with the i5. The one you suggested looks great for the i7 and, if I go that route, gives a me a great upgrade at...

GPU: This is the area I am the least knowledgable about. Should I plan on the 1GB for HD or when you say it is "more than plenty to output flawless 1080p", does that mean that the 512mb would suffice? Honestly, I do zero gaming and don't see that changing anytime soon.

RAM: Great suggestion here! I hadn't even seen the 6Gb. I kept thinking that 8 was too much but worrying that I'd have to add to my 4 too soon. Perfect for the price!

PSU: That's a great deal and I guess I'll decide by the end of the day if I want to run that i7 or not. If so, I'll quickly snatch this bugger up. If not, I might go with something closer to the 530W, if only because I'm a bit of a green/crunchy type and would like to use as little energy as I must. (Probably also accounts for some of my hesitation with the i7...)

HDD: I think you've hit it on this one. I've been reading everywhere about the benefits of the F3 for the small amount of $$ it requires to bump up -- think I'll plan on the change.

CASE and DVD: Wow! As you can tell, I don't much care about the looks of the case, so this one seems like a great value when coupled with the DVD burner! That case is getting great reviews too!

So, I guess I just need to figure out the CPU and GPU (mobo will follow).

As far as the TV tuner, I guess I probably don't need it but was just thinking that it would be nice to just get basic programming in on it, so I can watch football on Sundays away from my girl and the kid, who don't much care for it! Our regular TV isn't HD and we probably won't be upgrading for a while (cuz I'm spending all our $ on a new rig :lol: ). I guess that's what I don't understand -- will my TV be able to pick up the regular digital broadcast channels by itself? (It's a pretty new model...)
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November 4, 2010 4:31:10 PM

bloodymoth said:
Good build, but may be overkill for hometheatre / edit system?


That's a little bit of the concern I had as well. For a far-superior product, I'm not unwilling to dish out the extra ching, but if it's just for far more than I need, why bother?

I suspect that kureme is just putting together the best build he possibly can with a $900 budget. In that regard, he succeeded admirably. However, I'm just not sure that I need that much.

If I can save $150 and still get what I need, then I can use that $ towards the aforementioned TV-upgrade my family desires...
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November 4, 2010 6:14:16 PM

I admit, I was aiming for the best build possible with a $900 budget being the high end of your budget range. To back it up, the i7s have twice as many threads as the i5 and Adobe software is known to make use of them. It also provides a bit of futureproofing but I understand budget is a concern. The only real difference you would be seeing is the times to render images and encode movies is significantly quicker but if you don't mind waiting, I would recommend the lower spec i5 instead to save money.

CPU and MOBO: i5-760 and Asus P7P55D-E LX $318.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GPU: Gigabyte GTS450 $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Eco 4GB (2 x 2GB) $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HSF: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair CMPSU-550VX 550W $59.99 (10% off promo for today only)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE and DVD: Antec Three Hundred and Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner $74.94
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

TOTAL Price: $758.88

If you live by a microcenter, this build can be a bit cheaper.

This build should be fine for your purposes. The multi core will be a huge jump from your single core P4 although the clock speed will be the same. You will have the option to overclock the i5 even up to 4ghz if you want but i would only recommend 3.6ghz max. You can OC it from the start to 3.2ghz without having to adjust any voltages. I can post a like to help if you need it.

The memory should be plenty but if you need more, I recommend getting another of the same set for a total of 8gb. See how this 4gb works for you and if you notice any lag or slow downs, then get the second set. Reason is that the LGA 1156 socket supports dual channel memory effectively doubling their speed. As such, I recommend getting ram in multiples of 2. If you want 6gb here, it should be 2x2gb and 2x1gb but there is no problem just doing 3x2gb other than the fact that you wouldn't be utilizing the dual channel capability of the socket that requires even sets of ram. The socket LGA 1366 supports triple channel ram which is why I recommended the 3x2gb.

For GPU, I definately recommend going with 1gb regardless if you will play games or not. 512mb may cut it but with more demanding software you might get choppy playback. Memory isn't the only thing to be concerned about. You also need to take into account the processing capability of the GPU which will determine the quality of the picture on the screen. To be honest the GTS 450 may be a bit overkill being a budget gaming GPU but will futureproof your PC for longer than if you just get the standard GPUs.

Regarding your TV, if you have a digital ready TV you should be able to pick up the digital broadcasts. You just need to connect an antenna to it. Expect to shell out at least $40 for a decent antenna though. Anything below this is worthless and won't be able to pick up a good chunk of the available channels.
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November 4, 2010 7:16:22 PM

I would actually go for an AMD X6 build in this range.

Gimme 5 minutes to come up with a build, will there by any gaming at all?

1090T ~230$ http://www.buy.com/prod/amd-phenom-ii-x6-1090t-black-ed... Fair bit faster than the i5 in CS5.
Case+DVD drive 75$, though you may want to spring for a Blu-ray drive for HTPC work. http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-3463938-10521304?sid=&URL=... 75$
Samsung 2TB 110$ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Only if you're getting an SSD; else get the F3.
PSU 45-65$, several 20% off codes. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|17-371-033^17-371-033-TS%2C17-371-023^17-371-023-S01%2C17-371-034^17-371-034-TS%2C17-139-004^17-139-004-S01
Mobo: 80-85$ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|13-157-200^13-157-200-TS%2C13-128-444^13-128-444-TS%2C13-131-627R^13-131-627-Z01%2C13-131-398^13-131-398-TS
8GB Ram 115$ http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... CS5 is ridiculously ram hungry, even simple 3-layer photoshops run into 5GB of ram.

That's 680 assuming the most expensive components listed. That leaves you some room to go for an SSD/aftermarket CPU cooler/videocard if you game.

Here's the SSDs I would be looking at if interested: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|20-227-542^20-227-542-TS%2C20-226-151^20-226-151-TS%2C20-148-357^20-148-357-02%23%2C20-227-590^20-227-590-TS%2C20-233-108^20-233-108-TS

If you game, a 6850 will have the latest HDMI version and enough power for most games in the near future. If you don't game, the integrated on the mobo will handle HD video and video/photo editing exceptionally.
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November 4, 2010 9:39:07 PM

kureme said:
I admit, I was aiming for the best build possible with a $900 budget being the high end of your budget range. To back it up, the i7s have twice as many threads as the i5 and Adobe software is known to make use of them. It also provides a bit of futureproofing but I understand budget is a concern. The only real difference you would be seeing is the times to render images and encode movies is significantly quicker but if you don't mind waiting, I would recommend the lower spec i5 instead to save money.

CPU and MOBO: i5-760 and Asus P7P55D-E LX $318.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

GPU: Gigabyte GTS450 $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Eco 4GB (2 x 2GB) $89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HSF: Cooler Master Hyper 212+ $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $74.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: Corsair CMPSU-550VX 550W $59.99 (10% off promo for today only)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CASE and DVD: Antec Three Hundred and Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner $74.94
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

TOTAL Price: $758.88

If you live by a microcenter, this build can be a bit cheaper.

This build should be fine for your purposes. The multi core will be a huge jump from your single core P4 although the clock speed will be the same. You will have the option to overclock the i5 even up to 4ghz if you want but i would only recommend 3.6ghz max. You can OC it from the start to 3.2ghz without having to adjust any voltages. I can post a like to help if you need it.

The memory should be plenty but if you need more, I recommend getting another of the same set for a total of 8gb. See how this 4gb works for you and if you notice any lag or slow downs, then get the second set. Reason is that the LGA 1156 socket supports dual channel memory effectively doubling their speed. As such, I recommend getting ram in multiples of 2. If you want 6gb here, it should be 2x2gb and 2x1gb but there is no problem just doing 3x2gb other than the fact that you wouldn't be utilizing the dual channel capability of the socket that requires even sets of ram. The socket LGA 1366 supports triple channel ram which is why I recommended the 3x2gb.

For GPU, I definately recommend going with 1gb regardless if you will play games or not. 512mb may cut it but with more demanding software you might get choppy playback. Memory isn't the only thing to be concerned about. You also need to take into account the processing capability of the GPU which will determine the quality of the picture on the screen. To be honest the GTS 450 may be a bit overkill being a budget gaming GPU but will futureproof your PC for longer than if you just get the standard GPUs.

Regarding your TV, if you have a digital ready TV you should be able to pick up the digital broadcasts. You just need to connect an antenna to it. Expect to shell out at least $40 for a decent antenna though. Anything below this is worthless and won't be able to pick up a good chunk of the available channels.


Wow. Again, kureme, thanks for the detailed response!

I understand your reasoning for the i7's. You're right about the futureproofing and I'm still considering the i7 for that exact reason. Obviously, the 1366 is going to take over here at some point, so that's a consideration too. Also, I haven't yet upgraded to Adobe's CS5 and know that when I do, I'll probably wish that I had the heavier unit. Also, the i5 3.0GHz that I originally posted was part of a mobo combo that has since disappeared, so I guess I'm taking a step back and looking again anyway. If I do take Interstate 5 to my destination, I'll likely overclock it a bit and, yes, I would love some advice on how to properly do so!

Thanks for explaining the RAM -- I hadn't really noticed the triple channel capabilities. You did recommend the RAM in multiples of two. I think I understand what you mean by that but, to be clear, it's the dual-channel capabilities of that speed things up? That would make it faster than this bugger, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and also explain why two 4GB's are cheaper than two 2x2's, right? See, I can learn things!

I'm on board with the GPU...just needed someone to explain it to me in a way that makes sense. Thanks for being that person!

Finally, though I'm eager to purchase all this stuff and get started, I must admit that I have no real reason to hurry too much. Do you think it benefits me to bide my time and just pluck components off the major sites as November rolls on? If it saves me $30 or something, I don't really care. But if it brings significant savings, I can just roll with the holiday punches.

Also, I'll showcase my newb status by admitting that I've never even heard of Microcenter. But, as it stands, I'll be only a few miles away from one over the weekend and I'll probably have time to stop. Are their everyday prices better? Do they have better deals and specials? Or is it just that I can save on all the shipping costs?

Again, thanks for the assistance. I feel like I'm getting close!!
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November 4, 2010 10:17:14 PM

Quote:
Wow. Again, kureme, thanks for the detailed response!

I understand your reasoning for the i7's. You're right about the futureproofing and I'm still considering the i7 for that exact reason. Obviously, the 1366 is going to take over here at some point, so that's a consideration too. Also, I haven't yet upgraded to Adobe's CS5 and know that when I do, I'll probably wish that I had the heavier unit. Also, the i5 3.0GHz that I originally posted was part of a mobo combo that has since disappeared, so I guess I'm taking a step back and looking again anyway. If I do take Interstate 5 to my destination, I'll likely overclock it a bit and, yes, I would love some advice on how to properly do so!


http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-2... It's not a stark difference between an i5 and a comparably clocked i7. I would like to point out the price/performance winner the AMD 1090T. Only 5% slower than the i7-950, but 80$ (26%) cheaper (plus ~120 saved in mobo costs).

Quote:
Thanks for explaining the RAM -- I hadn't really noticed the triple channel capabilities. You did recommend the RAM in multiples of two. I think I understand what you mean by that but, to be clear, it's the dual-channel capabilities of that speed things up? That would make it faster than this bugger, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and also explain why two 4GB's are cheaper than two 2x2's, right? See, I can learn things!


One thing I'd like to point out here is that dual channel is faster than single channel, but dual channel is dual channel, not necessarily dual sticks. You can run triple channel across 4 sticks, or dual channel across 3. Addressing 4 2GB (a 2+2 config) sticks is slower than 2 4GB sticks (a 2, or dual channel config). The primary reason 4GB sticks are less expensive than 2*2 is that there is no additional PCB/heatspreader/validation costs associated with the extra 2 modules. Though to be honest ram performance past dual channel 1333 CAS 9 is fractional and only applicable to limited scenarios.

Quote:
I'm on board with the GPU...just needed someone to explain it to me in a way that makes sense. Thanks for being that person!


I disagree entirely on the GPU front. There is no image quality/performance benefit for CS5 with a consumer GPU (excluding CUDA). No consumer level GPU can output past 24-bit color (not that any consumer displays can display past that, but I digress). CS5 is not GPU heavy at all -- I have a dedicated Afteraffects box running on an old AMD 3000 IGP, and it's entirely fluid given that CS5 is CPU/CUDA driven.

That said, CUDA can be quite powerful for specific workloads, but in my personal use over the last 6 months it's not been worth the investment, as previews were already handled fine by the 980X and it's only really helpful on specific tasks.

Quote:
Finally, though I'm eager to purchase all this stuff and get started, I must admit that I have no real reason to hurry too much. Do you think it benefits me to bide my time and just pluck components off the major sites as November rolls on? If it saves me $30 or something, I don't really care. But if it brings significant savings, I can just roll with the holiday punches.


If you're waiting past December, Intel's releasing their next-generation CPU architecture in January. Should bring ~25% faster performance at the same price points.

Quote:
Also, I'll showcase my newb status by admitting that I've never even heard of Microcenter. But, as it stands, I'll be only a few miles away from one over the weekend and I'll probably have time to stop. Are their everyday prices better? Do they have better deals and specials? Or is it just that I can save on all the shipping costs?


Microcenter will match costs with Newegg/other online sites, and you get immediate (shipping free, so cheaper) products as well as an awesome return policy. They generally have worse prices/selection than, say, Newegg, but will pricematch. They often have special in store deals, for example, the Intel i7-930 can be had for 200$ (regularly 280) at most microcenters.
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November 4, 2010 10:51:29 PM

Correct, running two 2gbs sticks of ram in dual channel mode is much faster than a single 4gb stick even though the total amount is the same.

My view on the timing, its basically the longer you wait, the more deals there will be and better technology will come out as well. You will fall into an endless cycle of waiting just to get "that better deal." Give yourself a timeframe and stick with it unless it's less than a week or two wait from the last day you've given yourself. Waiting longer than that and you may as well just forget about the new PC and run your current one until it dies so that you absolutely must get one right away.

My take, just splurge a little and get it. There is nothing significant you are waiting for because you don't need the best stuff, just the best deals. i.e. if you were building a gaming PC, I would tell you to wait a week or two for the Radeon HD 69xx GPUs to come out and see what they have to offer before making your purchase. But since you're not, it doesn't matter.

Microcenter is known for having GREAT deals on PC components. For example, the $294.99 i7-950 on newegg is only $229.99 plus tax at Microcenter. With tax, that's a savings of around $46. The Spinpoint F3 1TB HDD is $59.99 plus tax for a savings of about $10. The main deals are on the CPUs and HDDs and sometimes the HSFs. Other parts are either about the same or more in which case you should figure out which one is cheaper taking into account tax for Microcenter goods and shipping, if any, for parts on newegg. Also keep in mind of the combo deals at newegg.

Don't be afraid to shop around to save money. Newegg is usually very quick with shipping orders. If you order them on Monday, you will almost always get them by Friday.
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November 4, 2010 11:37:03 PM

Quote:
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-2... It's not a stark difference between an i5 and a comparably clocked i7. I would like to point out the price/performance winner the AMD 1090T. Only 5% slower than the i7-950, but 80$ (26%) cheaper (plus ~120 saved in mobo costs).


If he gets them from Microcenter the price between the i7-950 and AMD 1090T is the same at $229.99 making the i7 the price/performance winner in this case. Also keep in mind that chart is rated at stock speeds.

Quote:
One thing I'd like to point out here is that dual channel is faster than single channel, but dual channel is dual channel, not necessarily dual sticks. You can run triple channel across 4 sticks, or dual channel across 3. Addressing 4 2GB (a 2+2 config) sticks is slower than 2 4GB sticks (a 2, or dual channel config). The primary reason 4GB sticks are less expensive than 2*2 is that there is no additional PCB/heatspreader/validation costs associated with the extra 2 modules. Though to be honest ram performance past dual channel 1333 CAS 9 is fractional and only applicable to limited scenarios.


This is incorrect. You must have RAM sticks in pairs to run dual channel mode because the memory controller address them both at the same time, hench dual channel. Having 3 sticks throws it off unless it is triple channel capable because it would then only be able to address two sticks at a time and then the last one by it self. Here's a good read with a much bette explaination. http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Everything-You-N...

Quote:
I disagree entirely on the GPU front. There is no image quality/performance benefit for CS5 with a consumer GPU (excluding CUDA). No consumer level GPU can output past 24-bit color (not that any consumer displays can display past that, but I digress). CS5 is not GPU heavy at all -- I have a dedicated Afteraffects box running on an old AMD 3000 IGP, and it's entirely fluid given that CS5 is CPU/CUDA driven.

That said, CUDA can be quite powerful for specific workloads, but in my personal use over the last 6 months it's not been worth the investment, as previews were already handled fine by the 980X and it's only really helpful on specific tasks.


Say's the guy with a $1000 processor!! *envies!!* I'm sure a recent IGP can probably cut it but there are no x58 boards with IGP. This is why I recommended a discrete GPU.

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Microcenter will match costs with Newegg/other online sites, and you get immediate (shipping free, so cheaper) products as well as an awesome return policy. They generally have worse prices/selection than, say, Newegg, but will pricematch. They often have special in store deals, for example, the Intel i7-930 can be had for 200$ (regularly 280) at most microcenters.


This is news to me as well. I knew about the excellent return policy but forgot to mention, but I didn't know they price matched. Good to know. Is this just the cost of the item? Or including tax as well?
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November 5, 2010 12:00:18 AM

Thanks for the responses, gang!! I have a few other questions/clarifications before I assemble a final list, but I'm about to do the dinner/movie routine with the girl, so I won't have time to post until much later tonight...
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November 5, 2010 12:06:10 AM

I've gotten them to pricematch with Newegg, you typically have to fuss with a manager though.

As for dual channel, it definitely addresses bits, not sticks. I'll direct you to this manual: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=... on page 16 for a realworld demonstration. Channels =! sticks. I can't find any modern demonstrations of running dual channel across 3 sticks, but it worked just as well.

I'd still say AMD is the price/performance winner as the mobos are cheaper and you can avoid purchasing a GPU by going with integrated.
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November 5, 2010 12:29:28 AM

My suggestions: take kureme's i5 build, replace the i5/mobo combo with this 1055t/mobo combo, take out the CM Hyper 212+, and substitute the $75 1TB F3 for the $110 2TB F4.

That should put you at $702.90, unless kureme counts mail-in rebates like sp12 :non: 

My reasons for the changes: the 1055T's six cores will do more for your purposes than the i5's four, and it costs $50 less than the 1090T (which no one should be recommending atm); the HSF is definitely unnecessary if you're not gaming; and the extra storage will probably be appreciated. On that note, the F4 uses three 667GB platters, as opposed to the F3's two 500GB platters. Because of this new design, Samsung apparently decided the F4 would run just as fast at 5400RPM, as opposed to the F3's 7200RPM. To you, this means that the F4 will run cooler and quieter and draw less power (though perhaps only noticeable if you keep the rig running 24/7). The F4 is still very fast. And the F4 can brag a much higher GB/$ ratio.
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November 5, 2010 12:40:51 AM

I like the above, but I think saying the 1090T is a terrible chip isn't entirely fair. It's 19% more expensive, but 14% faster. Not a terrible price/performance discrepancy, especially since it's unlocked.
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November 5, 2010 1:15:55 AM

sp12 said:
I like the above, but I think saying the 1090T is a terrible chip isn't entirely fair. It's 19% more expensive, but 14% faster. Not a terrible price/performance discrepancy, especially since it's unlocked.
The 1055T is $180. The 1090T is $230, which means it's 28% more expensive. The 1090T's clock is 14% faster, but in real world performance, the difference is more like 10%. And the fact that the 1090T is unlocked isn't that significant considering that Tronslaught won't be gaming (and thus has no reason to OC); if you were talking about the 955 BE (and if this were for a gaming build), I'd understand.
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November 5, 2010 8:43:46 AM

I completely missed the price drop on the 1055t, was going off of 200$.
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November 5, 2010 2:23:38 PM

Whew! Feel like I'm running a marathon here...

OK, here's a few thoughts from my end:
Quote:
I disagree entirely on the GPU front. There is no image quality/performance benefit for CS5 with a consumer GPU (excluding CUDA).

I did a bit of research on this and found that there are a small number of components within CS5 that really benefit from a 1Gb GPU. While I don't doubt that I could get away with the integrated and probably not run into too many issues, I'm thinking I'd like to be covered for those instances where a bit of GPU power is warranted. After all, other than the basics (internet, movies, storage, etc.), Adobe software is the main thing I'll be doing on my rig.

Quote:
Correct, running two 2gbs sticks of ram in dual channel mode is much faster than a single 4gb stick even though the total amount is the same.

Gotcha. This got me thinking that I might want to just bite the bullet and start with 2x4GB. If I do go this route, I still can't follow whether or not it will make any significant difference if I buy 2 separate 4Gb sticks vs. one 2x4. Any thoughts?

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the 1055T's six cores will do more for your purposes than the i5's four

Well, I definitely understand the appeal here. However, the more I look into it, the more I feel comfortable going with the i5. I've now read a few different suggestions from folks saying that the best way to optimize your system for CS5 is to plan on 4Gb of RAM per core. Now, granted, I'm only planning on going with 8Gb of RAM (and that's a recent decision...), so that's only a 2Gb/core ratio, but it stands to reason that the six-core would be far more than necessary for me considering my RAM levels.

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substitute the $75 1TB F3 for the $110 2TB F4.

So, you're suggesting a jump in HDD. Your reasoning is sound and it's well possible that I might do this, but I can't decide. On the one hand, it would be nice to have a bigger, faster HDD like the F4. But I'm also reading how helpful it can be to have a separate HDD just for the scratch disks. Would it serve me better to skip the F4, but grab another 3Gb/sec HDD?

To complicate things even further (which I'm pretty good at), let me ask another opinion. Would I be better off doing either of the above options (F4 vs. F3+additional HDD) or saving $$ there and spending it on an SSD? And, if anyone thinks that's a good idea, what should I store where once it's set up?

I'm close to finishing up this sucker and I'm headed to Microcenter tomorrow. Judging by the prices that I'm seeing, I'll probably end up with the CPU, MOBO and case from there and order the rest online. But who knows, maybe I'll just get it all while I'm there. It'd be nice to have the double-benefit of an easy return policy (if I'm to consider a 100-mile drive "easy") and not having to worry about damage in transit. I'll dig around on the specific prices on each individual item once I finalize what it is that I'm looking for.
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November 5, 2010 3:18:08 PM

There is usually no problems buying two separate 4gb sticks and most of the time it they will work together in dual channel mode, even though they can be different brands. The reason for a 2x4gb dual channel kit is that the RAM sticks are two identical sticks manufactured right after the other with consecutive serial numbers. This just ensures the best compatibility between the RAM for dual channel mode. I say if you don't have the money for a 2x4gb kit. Just get the single 4gb now and another of the same brand/model later.

Regarding the HDD, you should be fine with just a F3 1TB since you were originally planning on 500GB. It's going to take you a while to fill it up and you can always add another one later. The SSD is up to you but I recommend against it because the price to GB is too high and a 7200 rpm magnet disk is fast enough for regular use. Should you decide to go that route, make sure you get something over 100GB to be usefeul and that it has a sandforce based controller. Expect to cough up $1.5-$2/GB. It would be your boot drive and you would install programs on it. All other files like movies, pictures and downloads should be stored on your 1TB "storage" disk.

I don't consider over an hour drive to anywhere "easy" and its probably not worth it. Just get what's cheap there and the rest online. Newegg also has a decent return policy just not as good as Microcenter.

Have fun building it and we'll still be here if you run into any problems.
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November 5, 2010 4:38:41 PM

kureme said:
There is usually no problems buying two separate 4gb sticks and most of the time it they will work together in dual channel mode, even though they can be different brands. The reason for a 2x4gb dual channel kit is that the RAM sticks are two identical sticks manufactured right after the other with consecutive serial numbers. This just ensures the best compatibility between the RAM for dual channel mode. I say if you don't have the money for a 2x4gb kit. Just get the single 4gb now and another of the same brand/model later.

Regarding the HDD, you should be fine with just a F3 1TB since you were originally planning on 500GB. It's going to take you a while to fill it up and you can always add another one later. The SSD is up to you but I recommend against it because the price to GB is too high and a 7200 rpm magnet disk is fast enough for regular use. Should you decide to go that route, make sure you get something over 100GB to be usefeul and that it has a sandforce based controller. Expect to cough up $1.5-$2/GB. It would be your boot drive and you would install programs on it. All other files like movies, pictures and downloads should be stored on your 1TB "storage" disk.

I don't consider over an hour drive to anywhere "easy" and its probably not worth it. Just get what's cheap there and the rest online. Newegg also has a decent return policy just not as good as Microcenter.

Have fun building it and we'll still be here if you run into any problems.

Cool, thanks. I have enough for the 2x4 RAM, I just couldn't figure out why a 2-pack cost more than buying 2 separately. I think I'll just stick with the F3, as you've suggested (I was laughing about the same thing...originally wanting 500GB and then considering the jump to 2Tb). I think I'll have time to wait and see if the SSD's come down in price in a couple of months, as everyone seems to be suggesting and add one then.

So, here's the final configuration:

CPU: i5 760 http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... ($169.99)

MOBO: Asus P7P55D-E LX http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... ($129.99)

GPU: GIGABYTE GV-N450 1GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($119.99)

RAM: GSkillz 2x4GB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($124.99)

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... ($54.99)

PSU: CORSAIR 550W http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite... ($69.99)

CASE: Antec Three Hundred http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml... ($49.99)

CD/DVD Burner: Sony Optiarc http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($19.99)

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... ($99.99)

Well, that adds up to $739.92 (sans OS), so I'm pretty happy in that dept. That seems like a great price for a decent machine that will no doubt do what I need it to. And for the foreseeable future, the only possible addition would be an additional HDD or an SSD if the price comes down a bit on them.

Just have to decide on the OS. My plan was to run Linux and put my old XP on a VM to run the Adobe software. However, I'm starting to lean towards picking up Windows 7, just cause it's so cheap (an upgrade to 64-bit would be nice).
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November 5, 2010 6:01:04 PM

Best answer selected by Tronslaught.
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November 5, 2010 6:03:57 PM

The PSU is the same price after rebate at newegg so you might as well get it there so all your parts come in together.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Cheaper Asus 24x DVD Burner for $18.99 on newegg.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Same Asus P7P55D-E LX Mobo has a $10 rebate on newegg so total is $119.99 and free shipping. Also save $25 more in a combo with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

You just saved $36!

Just remember the i5 760 is very easily overclockable. You can have it running at 3.2 GHz right out of the box on the stock cooler and it will be safe. You can probably even get it to 3.4GHz if you wanted but that's pushing it on the stock cooler. Just something to know for when you feel it running a bit slow.
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November 5, 2010 6:20:47 PM

Hey...thanks again! I was just about to order this stuff, so you helped a bunch!
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!