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New multipurpose w/ emphasis on reliability & longevity

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November 21, 2010 8:36:26 PM

Approximate Purchase Date:
ASAP

Budget Range:
Max $850 Canadian

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Basic productivity i.e. surfing the net, email, word processing, running PS3 Media Server/TVersity, extremely limited gaming (the latest game I've been playing is Civ V and i've been running it on my m1330 laptop. I typically game on my xbox 360 when i have time but that isn't to say it wouldn't be nice to have a capable rig)


Parts Not Required:
Keyboard, Mouse, speakers, Monitor
-I was also planning to keep my old ATA DVD and CD burner if possible as they seem to do the job well enough...


Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
NCIX.com or Newegg.ca, NCIX seems to be the cheaper currently, so I'm thinking there

Country of Origin:
Canada


Parts Preferences: None really, reliability is my only preference. I'm upgrading from a 7 year old P4 2.4ghz in a Asus P4PE w 1 gb of ram and a ATI AIW 9700 Pro. It's been a good rig but it's time for it to go. Given the reliability of my current Asus I'd definitely purchase from them again. Don't really have an AMD or Intel preference, I've had good experiences with both.


Overclocking: Yeah, it seems to make sense in terms of bang for buck.


SLI or Crossfire: Maybe? I honestly can't really see myself needing this given my gaming habits (or lack thereof) but I also want this machine to last 5-7 years, so I might want this for future proofing?


Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024 (Samsung SyncMaster 930B, may look to upgrade this in the future)

Additional Comments: I want a good, midrange PC that will hopefully last as long as my current rig has (5-7 years). Quiet is nice, it definitely doesn't need to be flashy. Given everything I've read on the internet, the system I am building is probably overkill for my/my family's needs but we're willing to spend more to ensure we have a system that performs admirably for a long while so anything I can do to make it relatively future proof without getting ridiculous cost-wise would be good.

As I mentioned before, my current rig is a 2.4 ghz P4, Asus p4pe, 1 gb ram, AIW Radeon 9700 pro, running XP sp3. It's simply too slow booting and loading applications. I've done clean installs on it many times over the years and I think it's just time to move on. Likely anything I build will blow this thing outta the water, no?

So based on some recommendations from here and bit-tech, this is the set-up i have been considering:

-Intel Core i5 760 Quad Core Processor Lynnfield LGA1156 2.8GHZ 8MB Cache Retail Box
-ASUS P7P55D-E LX LGA1156 P55 ATX DDR3 1PCI-E16 4PCI-E1 2PCI USB3.0 SATA 6GB Sound GBLAN Motherboard
-G.SKILL F3-12800CL9D-4GBRL Ripjaws PC3-12800 4GB 2X2GB DDR3-1600 CL9-9-9-24 Core i5 1.5V Memory Kit
-EVGA GeForce GTX 460 Fermi 675MHZ 768MB GDDR5 Dual DVI Mini-HDMI PCI-E DX11 Video Card
-OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W ATX 20/24PIN SLI Ready Modular Cables 135mm Fan Active PFC Power Supply
-GELID Solutions Tranquillo LGA775/1156/1366 AM2/AM3 I7/I5/PHENOM Heatpipe Cooler PWM 120MM Fan
-Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB SATA2 3.5IN 8.5MS 7200RPM 32MB Hard Drive OEM *3YR MFR Warranty*
-Coolermaster Haf 912 Black Mid Tower ATX Case 4X5.25 1X3.5 6X3.5INT No PS Front USB Sound

Total w/ tax shipped to my door: $875 - around $30 worth of mail in rebates.

Given what I want from this system, is this overkill?
Would I be better off with a more budget Intel or AMD build? or an IGP?
Do I need to spend this much to get a PC that is capable for my needs and that will last or can you recommend something MORE than capable but that will be cheaper and still last years???

Regarding the current mobo, i chose the p7p55d-e lx because it saved me about $50 compared the p7p55d-e or the Pro and seems to have the USB3.0/SATA3.0 capabilities for future and I don't think I need to be too worried about the PCIe dropping to 8x for those given my gaming habits - am I wrong? I was also considering an MSI p55a-g55 which would save me even more money but I'm not familiar w/ the brand quality. I've also seen gigabyte's recommended a lot but couldn't find one that fit the niche/was better than the asus, so your opinions here are welcome.

Almost all of these items were selected through the sale NCIX is running until the 24th, so if i wait until past then the price will obviously change, etc.

I opted for the Seagate 7200.12 over a Samsung Spinpoint F3 b/c NCIX doesn't carry the spinpoint and it would cost me $35 to get just that piece from Newegg.

When I priced out a similar rig on new egg, the components were more expensive and I had to pay both domestic and international shipping so it seemd to be costing over $100 more.

These forums/this website has been a huge help so far so I'm looking forward to any help/advice you can give me.

Thanks!
November 21, 2010 10:21:20 PM

If you are not gaming, a GTX 460 is complete overkill. Unless you are preparing for gaming at, say, 1920x1080. In which case you've (almost) got the right rig lol.

Unless you plan to OC the cpu, I'd step down the memory to a Mushkin or G.Skill 2x2GB 1333 cl9 kit. You won't notice the difference in speed.

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

Not a big fan of the psu . . . please consider this high-quality one instead. It's got plenty of power for your rig:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...

(I used Newegg, but you should be able to source those parts elsewhere.)

Would you be better off with a lesser system? This one will play games at your current resolution, or support a new 1920 monitor later on. But absent the games, or the investment for whatever the future brings, it remains overkill.

The alternatives include going with an i3 540 or similar and using the iga, and adding a vid card later as/if your needs evolve. Or waiting until 1q '11 for Sandy Bridge with stronger cpus combined with stronger onboard graphics. But 5-7 years is a long time.

As for your mobo choice, I don't see where it will drop to x8 . . . it has a single x16 slot, and x4 slot along with SATA/USB 3.0. I think you'll be fine with that - maybe 3-4 years down the line you might upgrade to whatever the vid card technology provides . . . if necessary at all.
November 22, 2010 9:45:37 PM

Thanks for the feedback. I thought i might have been going a bit overboard but the thought of an IGP steered me away from the i3 clarkdales until I read some more reviews.

Given your advice, I've created an i3 build that I'd love some feedback on. I take it i'm not going to miss the 2 extra cores too much given that I don't do a lot of encoding? Probably the most heavy stress the system will be under is when I've left my alt.binz downloading under my user account and another family member switches user to their account to do emails, etc. or when someone is streaming video via PS3Media Server while another is browsing the web. I'd like the system to be able to perform this kinda multitasking without it being overly noticeable to the user (my current rig is almost unusable with 2 users signed in & alt.binz d/ling)

I also wouldn't mind someone giving me a pitch on the cost and possible pros/cons of an comparable (or better but similarly priced) AMD based system as there seem to be some pretty good prices on the Athlon and Phenom II x4's these days.

NCIX and Newegg.ca are where I'll likely be ordering from as their the cheapest depending on who has what on sale.

I will likely want to overclock this CPU so I would love suggestions on a more appropriate motherboard, case and cooling system to allow me to do so in a safe and stable way.

I also have a hitachi 2TB 7k1000 deskstar drive currently being used for storage. Should i consider making this a primary drive in my new build or would I get better performance by buying a new Samsung Spinpoint F3, Seagate 7200.12 to, or investing in a smaller SSD just for the OS and leaving the deskstar as storage?

The build:
Intel Core i3 540
Gigabyte H55-USB3 Mobo
G.Skill Ripjaw 4GB (2x2gb) Cl9 DDR3-1600
Hard drive of some sort (see above)
Rosewill R101 or Coolermaster 310 case (would I be better spending mroe for an Antec 300 or HAF 912?)
Seasonic S12II 430B 430W (newegg) or Antec Earthwatts Green 430W (ncix) - wasn't sure on what sort of wattage I needed for this build, please advise?

Cost after shipping & tax: ~$500 Canadian (if i buy a new hard drive)

Thanks again for any help!
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November 23, 2010 1:15:09 AM

You will likely find adding a mild overclock will be fun. I say mild because I'll bet you find this cpu does all you need, and you don't need to push its speed to the limits. OTOH, you may find it a challenge and enjoy it as a new game :) 

My wife's "main" rig uses an i3, stock, as she streams multiple animal vid cams from around the world while watching TV off the USB tuner while doing email while loading audio books onto her iPod while chatting in some forum . . . while cooking :)  So for your uses, I doubt very much you will miss the cores.

cpu: fine

mobo: fine

memory: OK as long as you are preparing to OC the processor. Otherwise, Mushkin/G.Skill 1333 cl9 kit is fine and saves money.

HD: I assume you are going to wipe this drive if you used it in this build? An alternative is to use Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB as a "C" drive, and simply plug your old drive in as a "D" drive. All your storage (but not your apps) remains intact. Another alternative is to pick up an SSD to be used the same way as the "C" drive. In your case a 64GB "OS-only" will suffice as you don't have any large games you would want to also store on the SSD. SSDs are still expensive toys, but its nice to see real quick bootups, eh?

Case: For this build, these are for the most part personal choices as air flow isn't going to be critical. The CM 310 is well made and smart looking. The HAF 912 is a High Air Flow low-cost case we recommend a lot for hotter builds. Either will work fine for you.

PSU: You have acquired excellent taste in psus :)  The wattage is fine . . . even if you later add a vid card. Normally we choose 500W+ psus because there's almost no cost difference vs 450W units, but either of your choices is excellent. (Let me see if I can find a difference between the two psus . . . . one cable . . . OK, so buy whichever is cheaper.)

Edit: Ooops - forgot cooler for OC. Cooler Master Hyper 212+, currently $30US. Very good cooling, outstanding value. For max OCing would recommend coolers 2+ times more expensive/larger/heavier, but you aren't likely to need them.
November 23, 2010 3:24:14 AM

Last question: how much would i benefit from waiting until Sandy Bridge is released? Are the chips going to be priced around the same as the i3s or how much more should I expect to be spending/will the performance be worth the extra expense/wait?
November 23, 2010 3:26:55 AM

Quote:
Additional Comments: I want a good, midrange PC that will hopefully last as long as my current rig has (5-7 years)



Also note that LGA 1156 shall be usurped by LGA 1155 as soon as end of this year/possible Q1 next year if u intending to sink a wee bit on chip + board FYI.. with no backwards/forwards compatibility
http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpus/2010/04/21/intel-...

November 23, 2010 3:32:26 AM

Honestly, we all feel the launch is close enough - and significant enough - that making an investment now should be avoided . . . unless its necessary to replace a broken PC . . . or if you can't play WoW Cata at launch on 12/7/10 unless you do :) 
November 23, 2010 3:55:30 AM

Thanks for the feedback. Based upon it and what I've read thus far about Sandy Bridge, it seems like it's worth the wait.
November 23, 2010 4:02:52 AM

Frankly for
Quote:
System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Basic productivity i.e. surfing the net, email, word processing, running PS3 Media Server/TVersity, extremely limited gaming (the latest game I've been playing is Civ V and i've been running it on my m1330 laptop.


No render/encode, etc i would say there is zero need for such CPU hp offered by a Sandy Bridge or Bulldozer chip but your call hehe Something like a $73 3GHZ triple core on a 785G/880G IGP chipset would more than suffice lol
!