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Looking to build new computer ... Some questions about Mobos and SSDs

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January 22, 2011 10:04:01 AM

Hi folks,

I'm looking to build a new Sandy Bridge desktop system in the next couple of days and would like some advice regarding the Motherboard, Video card and the HDD/SSD for the new computer.

What the computer is to be used for? most to least important: Programming in VB6 at the moment and in the near future Java, Javascript (for web design with HTML and CSS), and C++ (and other C languages), Photo editing and drawing, Office work (MS office and file managers), Video editing (mainly converting codecs and compressing), and gaming (such as Trackmania, Burnout paradise, etc). I also do a bit of fiddling about with Linux!

Stores available: I live in Australia so Newegg is out (Sadly), ARC computers is the best around my area! - http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php

Budget: approximately $1600 Australian

Firstly, here is my parts list so far;

CPU -- Intel Core i5 2500 @ 3.30GHz & 6mb L3 Cache http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?pid=39945&p=product I figure that this CPU should be sufficient for all my needs especially since it only just comes in below the i7 2600 in the benchmarks and is $100 cheaper. I also won't be doing any over clocking so the standard edition should be fine.

Motherboard -- I am a little unsure here choosing between the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD4, and the Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD5. The main difference between the two that I understand is the extra power phases and the extra USB 3.0 headers and ports. If I was to keep this computer for 3 to 4 years would I really miss the extra USB 3.0 ports? The two Mobos are: http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?pid=39895&p=product for the UD5 and http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?gid=23863&pid=39894&p=product for the UD4.

HDDs/SSDs -- I have more or less decided on the Western Digital 1Tb HDD for the majority of the storage (such as: http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?gid=23423&pid=38497&p=product ) (files such as music and videos) and I also plan to get a SSD for the OS and programs, however with the Intel G3 SSDs coming out next month with 25nm process which is supposed to offer better performance and longer life out of the drive then I might wait until then. I only want to spend around $100 on a SSD with approximately 60Gb capacity. I have been looking at the corsair Force series SSD http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?gid=23790&pid=39254&p=product

GPU -- Lowering power consumption and heat output is also important to me. I have been tossing up between an AMD 6950 and an AMD 6850. both are available for: http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?pid=39989&p=product and http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?gid=23528&pid=39788&p=product Also with PCIe 3.0 coming out soon as I understand, Will I be able to obtain new PCIe 2.0 cards in order to fit into the PCIe socket on the motherboard.

Power Supply -- For this I have decided on the Corsair TX-650 as it seems to be the most reliable PSU that is still reasnoably priced. It is available at: http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?gid=23708&pid=35427&p=product

DVD/CD -- Sony Optairc AD-7240S http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?pid=37642&p=product

Case -- Cooler Master RC-692. http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?pid=38862&p=product While I know that this case doesn't have USB 3.0, but the current solution to USB 3.0 is those pesky pullthrough cables. I'm planning to buy a 3.5" USB 3.0 header adapters when they come out.

RAM -- I'm going to either buy corsair or Gskill RAM. The main question is how much do I need? While I haven't used more than the 3Gb on my current laptop, would 8Gb (such as this: http://www.arc.com.au/pub.php?pid=39802&p=product) provide a performance increase to my massive multitasking, or would 4Gb be enough?

Sorry for the extra long question here and thanks for reading this entire post.

Thanks in advance ...




EDIT: Fixed the broken links. Hope all is good now ;) 


Luke
January 22, 2011 10:40:58 AM

To your questions:

CPU - I agree that the 2500 is a better deal than the 2600, but I'd say go for the 2500K. It's not too much more money, and SB is very easy to overclock, giving you a free boost either now or down the road. (Although apparently it's not listed on the site you mentioned. You must be able to get it somewhere though.)

MB - The cheaper one should be fine. I'd go for the Asus P8P67 Pro though for about the same. It's getting good reviews, and you get UEFI. Plus I like Asus' overclocking and power/fan management tools, although I imagine Gigabyte has something similar.

I'm personally planning to wait a bit to buy an SSD. Corsair is coming out with their Performance 3 series by the end of this month, which uses the same controller as the new Crucial C400. (The C300 is the current performance champion.) Plextor is also releasing a 3rd gen drive using the same controller, presumably in the next few weeks. Then Micron and Crucial release their versions, which should be identical, called the C400 and M4 respectively. And finally, as you say, the new Intels come out in Feb. Unlike the others, they aren't likely to offer more performance than you can get now, but may bring the prices down. So ya, I'd wait a few weeks if you can.

One more thing. If you're looking at a smaller (60GB or so) SSD, I've been recommending that people check out HyperDuo. I can't give it a first-hand recommendation (yet anyway), but it certainly looks good. See this thread: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265724-32-hyperduo-la.... Just something to consider.

GPU - I'm getting a 6950, but I can't speak to your specific questions.

PSU - Good choice for the price.

Good case.

RAM - Yes 4GB would be enough, but given your usage, I'd expect you to benefit from 8GB. To save some money, go down to DDR3 1333. You don't need the extra speed for overclocking on Sandy Bridge, and you're not really going to notice the difference. Get 1.5V, but aside from that, just go for whatever's cheapest from a decent company.

PS: most/all of your links are broken. Fixing them would probably get you more replies. (If you use the square bracket syntax like that you need to actually put some descriptive words between the two tags. Otherwise, just paste the URL without the brackets and url= stuff.)

Edit: Sucks to be in Australia. :)  The Australian and Canadian dollars are basically on par and it looks like we get better prices by about 15-20%.
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January 22, 2011 12:31:05 PM

You can get the 2500k on pccasegear.com.au!
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January 22, 2011 9:52:50 PM

Sorry about the broken links, I hadn't properly learnt how to use Tom's HTML tags as yet and I suppose I've got a lot to learn before I get around to building web pages!

The i7 2500K looks to be a little too much more for the extra performance and over-clocking. It is about $40 more! See link: http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=187_346_1184

As for the difference between the two motherboards, I'm still wondering whether in a couple of years I'll be wishing that I had invested in the extra $100 in the extra USB 3.0 ports! Also I think that the UD5 would also offer more tools to easily overclock with a little LED display to display the voltage or something and an onboard power button.

Thanks for the replies and I hope that the fixed links get me some more replies!

Luke
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January 22, 2011 10:37:21 PM

What good are the overclocking tools if you don't get the overclockable chip though? (I agree that $40 is a significant premium - here it's about 20. I'd still consider it though - certainly before the more expensive MB.)

The P8P67 Pro has 4 USB 3.0 ports. If you really need more than that many 3.0 devices plugged in at once, and need them all running at 3.0 speeds, you could always get a USB 3 PCIe card. I honestly don't see that happening though.
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