Helping a Buddy build a media PC

I've got a buddy who wants to replace the old system he's using as a home PC/media server. He wants something rather beefy to handle his DVD Ripping system (he keeps/maintains a large library, and rips backups of everything). I've been out of the game for about a year now, and while I can definitely do the assembly, I'm not up-to speed on the best deals. Some help, please?

Approximate Purchase Date: sometime in the next few weeks

Budget Range: $800-$1000, preferably less

System Usage from Most to Least Important: DVD ripping, QuickPAR, UnRAR, Home PC

Parts Not Required: Keyboard and mouse, OS not required

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Tiger Direct, Newegg also an option. Microcenter is in the area, so if a better deal can be found there...

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: Intel Core i7

Overclocking: Maybe, but not likely. Speed is important, but this system needs to last

SLI or Crossfire: No, but dual monitors required.

Monitor Resolution: 1024x768 minimum, dual monitors

Additional Comments: He already has plenty of external storage, so a 1TB internal drive should be sufficient for short-term. He's also looking to get a new pair of monitors, so any reductions in price to give room for them is warranted.


This is what he's picked out so far:

Core i7 bundle
Corsair XMS3 4GB DDR3 RAM - 3 more stix - he intends to max this system out with 16GB RAM.
GeForce 9500 GT Video Card

Current total: $819.95 before tax
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  1. Not a great idea. First, that's an obsolete socket. It's been replaced by the LGA1155 and the i5-2500 and i7-2600 CPUs. Second, other than the CPU, RAM and DVD burner, the rest of that combo is really low quality. it's not worth it.

    Here's what I recommend. Tell him to wait a few weeks/months. Then buy a Sandy Bridge i7-2600K build (like below). Why wait? Well, the original chipset Intel released with the new CPUs has a major design flaw that was just uncovered. A fix is supposedly on the way (with new motherboards), so until that happens, don't do anything. You don't want another CPU right now, as the i7-2600K is more powerful than the i7-980X and only $330. The motherboards are cheaper too.

    Here's a decent example of a build:

    CPU: i7-2600K $330 (probably $50 cheaper at Microcenter)
    Mobo: Unknown right now. I liked the ASRock P67 Extreme4 and the Asus P8P67 boards, but they've got that design flaw.
    RAM: 4x2 GB of 1600 mhz RAM. Any brand except OCZ. Around $100.
    HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB $65
    GPU: I'd rather get something more current. The GT 430 is around that price, and is a current generation GPU.
    Case: Rosewill Destroyer or Rosewill Challenger $55
    PSU: Antec 430W
    Optical: Whatever is cheapest.
  2. More about the SB SATA issue:

    http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/sb/CS-032263.htm

    The only things I'd change in the above SB build list are the mobo & gpu. Your friend doesn't game, so he doesn't need any discreet GPU. The 2600K has built-in graphics that are enough for even HD playback & very low rest gaming. Scroll down to "Graphics Specifications":

    http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=52214&wapkw=%282600k%29

    However, to use integrated gfx, you need a compatible mobo. Pick out a H67 based mobo. Right now it's too early. Wait til April.

    Your original TD build list will work for a while, but def. won't last very long due to the cheap-s psu.
  3. That build is a nice mahcine! If this is truely a PC for media and DVD ripping it is way overpowered for that task. I want to say it again... That Sandy Bridge build would be very nice (once updated motherboards ship). With that said... An AMD AM3 build would fit this bill as well. A motherboard having onboard video with a minimim of HD 4200 will do 1080 resolution, dual monitors, and have smooth blu-ray playback. For example...

    ASRock 880GM-LE $60=> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157199&cm_re=asrock_am3_motherboard-_-13-157-199-_-Product
    or
    ASRock 870 EXTREME3 $90 => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157198&cm_re=asrock_870_extreme3-_-13-157-198-_-Product

    AMD Phenom II X4 945 $135 => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103675&Tpk=phenom%20x4%20945

    G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB DDR3-1333 $41 => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231310&cm_re=ripjaw-_-20-231-310-_-Product
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