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~$500 First Build (Micro ATX): "Jack of all trades, master of none"

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April 12, 2011 9:08:10 PM

I'm looking to build a PC based around the "Jack of all trades, master of none" figure of speech. I'm planning on using this PC for some personal projects that require audio recording, video editing, and minor graphic design, while at the same time I'd like to keep my options open for very minor gaming down the line. This may come across as naive or quixotic, but I'm well aware that within this price range, I won't end up with a PC that performs like a beast at any one of these tasks, let alone all of them. I'm just looking for a build that can perform decently for my various needs, while still fitting within my limited budget. I think it's possible :) 

Approximate Purchase Date: This weekend.

Budget Range: ~$450 ideally, but up to $500 if needed.

System Notes:
  • My audio interface uses FireWire (it's an M-Audio ProFire 2626), so I'll need a PCIE FireWire card I believe right?
  • At some point I'll want another optical drive to burn more CDs/DVDs, but one is fine for now, though I'd still like the case to have two 5.25" drive bays for when I eventually do buy another drive.
     
    System Usage from Most to Least Important:
  • Audio recording (Pro Tools M-Powered 8, Reason)
  • Video editing (Final Cut Express)
  • Graphic design (Photoshop and Illustrator CS5)
  • Very minor gaming (Steam: Super Meat Boy, TF2, possibly Mass Effect and Civ 5 down the line whenever I get a graphics card.)
    Again, heavy emphasis on the "Jack of all trades, master of none" theme for this build!

     
    Parts Not Required:
  • Mouse - Logitech Wireless Mouse (not sure what kind, it has a nano receiver)
  • Speakers - I mostly use headphones and for mixing I'll be using my band's monitors.
  • Monitor - Dell 2209WAf (DVI and VGA)
  • OS - Windows Vista (Thinking of getting Windows 7, or should I just wait for Windows 8 at this point?)
     
    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: www.newegg.com

    Country of Origin: USA
     
    Parts Preferences: AMD (mostly to keep price down since it's less expensive than Intel I believe?) None!
     
    Overclocking: Maybe
     
    SLI or Crossfire: No
     
    Monitor Resolution: 1680 x 1050

    Potential Build:


    CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400 - $189.99

    Motherboard/RAM: Combo 632770 - 104.98 (119.98)
    MSI H61M-E23 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H61 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    Crucial Ballistix sport 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Desktop Memory Model BL2KIT25664BA1339

    Power Supply: Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS 12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply - $49.99 ($69.99)

    Case: Rosewill R102-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - $29.99

    Hard Drive: Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive - $39.99

    Optical Drive: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM - $21.99

    FireWire Card: Rosewill PCIE FireWire 1394a Card 2+1 Ports - $19.99 ($24.99)

    Keyboard: LITE-ON SK-1688U/B Black 104 Normal Keys USB Wired Standard Keyboard - $7.99

    Video Card: ???

    Subtotal: $464.91
    Shipping: $21.09
    Discount From Promo Code: -$10.00

    Total Cost: $467.00


    Any suggestions or compatibility issues? Last thing is a graphics card...

    Thanks for any help I receive, it's much appreciated :D 
    April 13, 2011 12:35:11 AM

    with a few changes you can sneak in an i5-2400 (a significantly better processor) and still make budget. i downgraded your ram to 1333mhz (dont worry about it), i switched your psu to antec (still a reliable psu), and i switched your hdd to a seagate (still a reliable hdd) the promo code at the bottom is for the i5-2400.

    Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price


    ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM
    Item #: N82E16827135204
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    $21.99


    APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case
    Item #: N82E16811154094
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$8.00 Instant
    $32.99
    $24.99


    Seagate Barracuda ST3500413AS 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
    Item #: N82E16822148701
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    $39.99


    Antec EarthWatts EA650 650W Continuous Power ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V version 2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified ...
    Item #: N82E16817371015
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    -$25.00 Instant
    $99.99
    $74.99


    LITE-ON SK-1688U/B Black USB Wired Standard Keyboard
    Item #: N82E16823107128
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    $7.99


    Rosewill PCIE FireWire 1394a Card 2+1 Ports Model RC-504
    Item #: N82E16815166018
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$5.00 Instant
    $24.99
    $19.99


    G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-4GBRL
    Item #: N82E16820231274
    Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy
    $44.99


    ASRock H61M-VS LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
    Item #: N82E16813157241
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    $59.99


    Intel Core i5-2400 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.4GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I52400
    Item #: N82E16819115074
    Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy
    Protect Your Investment (expand for options)
    $189.99
    Subtotal: $484.91
    Shipping: $25.45

    HARDOCPX4X6B Discount From Promo Code -$10.00

    Grand Total: $500.36
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    April 13, 2011 12:43:56 AM

    Just a suggestion, I'd recommend theRosewill R-101/102 case for $29.99 over the apex, because of the better fans


    If you think you'll be gaming, consider getting an i3-2100 and a HD6790
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    April 13, 2011 1:17:34 AM

    genghiskron said:
    with a few changes you can sneak in an i5-2400 (a significantly better processor) and still make budget. i downgraded your ram to 1333mhz (dont worry about it), i switched your psu to antec (still a reliable psu), and i switched your hdd to a seagate (still a reliable hdd) the promo code at the bottom is for the i5-2400.


    Do you think I'll end up needing 650w? I used this PSU calculator and I got around 350w after adding in a Radeon HD 5770. I know it's a mistake to skimp out on the PSU, but I'm not sure if I'll ever utilize 650w when I think about it. Would the Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W for $49.99 work?

    ScrewySqrl said:
    Just a suggestion, I'd recommend theRosewill R-101/102 case for $29.99 over the apex, because of the better fans


    If you think you'll be gaming, consider getting an i3-2100 and a HD6790


    I did read in a Tom's article that an i3 is really good for gaming (I forget which article though), but would I benefit more from 4 cores when rendering video and recording than if I only had 2? Or does it not really work like that? :na: 
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    April 13, 2011 1:19:35 AM

    the 430 would work fine.

    The quad will be better in terms of overall items, and I like Azn's build with the 450.
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    April 13, 2011 1:19:59 AM

    ^ The i3 2100 is a good gaming build CPU as games still do not take advantage of all 4 cores (stupid console porting). But video creation is dependent on cores in some cases. I use the 955 and Premiere Pro is pretty useable, but still uses all 4 cores. I would suggest getting the 2400 over the 2100 in video creation any day.

    Not only that, Photoshopping also likes the quads.
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    April 13, 2011 2:15:51 AM

    ScrewySqrl said:
    the 430 would work fine.

    The quad will be better in terms of overall items, and I like Azn's build with the 450.


    Me too! Unfortunately the 450 puts the build just under $600, which is out of my price range :( 

    aznshinobi said:
    ^ The i3 2100 is a good gaming build CPU as games still do not take advantage of all 4 cores (stupid console porting). But video creation is dependent on cores in some cases. I use the 955 and Premiere Pro is pretty useable, but still uses all 4 cores. I would suggest getting the 2400 over the 2100 in video creation any day.

    Not only that, Photoshopping also likes the quads.


    Then quads it is!

    genghiskron said:
    i only chose the 650w to match what you had, didnt know what graphics you wanted. the combos azn found look great, as does the rosewill case. check out this article on the sandy bridge processors:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/sandy-bridge-core-i...


    Thanks for the article! Yah, I'm definitely thinking the i5 now with the rosewill. I'm honestly not sure what graphics card I want :/ 



    I've updated the build to reflect all your suggestions, thanks so much! The only thing left is trying to fit the 450 or another card in somehow...
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    April 13, 2011 2:21:58 AM

    5670 is your best bet. Your basically doing my build (450$) + a 2400.
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    April 13, 2011 3:17:16 AM

    aznshinobi said:
    5670 is your best bet. Your basically doing my build (450$) + a 2400.


    Would a 5450 be decent enough until I could get something like the 450 later on? I'm not too concerned about gaming right now, although would a 5450 not work so well with video/graphic editing?
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    April 13, 2011 4:09:36 AM

    Well if you doing that, you might as well just keep your current build. You can use the APU in the 2400 as your graphics since your H61 chipset lets you use the APU within the chip. That'll save you money from buying a 5450. So you can just get the 450 GTS later.
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    April 13, 2011 4:16:23 AM

    aznshinobi said:
    Well if you doing that, you might as well just keep your current build. You can use the APU in the 2400 as your graphics since your H61 chipset lets you use the APU within the chip. That'll save you money from buying a 5450. So you can just get the 450 GTS later.


    Oh, I didn't realize that was a possibility, awesome! Thanks so much for the help, I'm pumped :D 
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    April 13, 2011 4:21:55 AM

    And uhhh IF YA WANNA HELP ME OUT! You could buy the i5 2400 off my site below the 600$ build :)  Same price, just from Amazon.
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    April 13, 2011 4:39:50 AM

    aznshinobi said:
    And uhhh IF YA WANNA HELP ME OUT! You could buy the i5 2400 off my site below the 600$ build :)  Same price, just from Amazon.


    Will do! :D 
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    April 13, 2011 4:42:55 AM

    :D  Thanks!

    Every penny I earn off that site goes towards my next computer. Granted it doesn't sound like a great cause, but hey, I'll post a how to build video as a result :D 
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    Anonymous
    April 24, 2011 6:44:54 PM

    Have you come across this board....http://www.msi.com/product/mb/890GXM-G65.html It's expensive but is pretty much the dog's nipples when it comes to mATX boards atm.... (i didnt read the full thread so sorry if this post is lyk "doubleyoo-tee-eff mayte O_o" )
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    !