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$600-700 Budget 3D Workstation / DAW / Gaming Rig

Last response: in Systems
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April 20, 2011 5:09:44 AM

A few months ago, I posted on here looking for advise on a new system build and most of the responses told me to wait for Sandy Bridge. Well, I waited, but the price for a SB system vs. an AMD Phenom II X4 based rig would require a lower end GPU than I'd like. So, I'm back again to get some more advice.

Approximate Purchase Date: This week

Budget Range: $600-700 before any mail in rebates (don't trust most of them anyways)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Autodesk Inventor, Ableton Live, Multiple VST Instruments, Games (would like to be able to play games like Crysis if I wanted to)

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers, OS, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com (ideally) but wouldn't mind suggestions from Amazon or Microcenter

Country of Origin: U.S.

Parts Preferences: AMD Phenom II X4 CPU, ATX mobo, ATI Radeon GPU

Overclocking: Yes (why not?)

SLI or Crossfire: Not really important

Monitor Resolution: at least 2048x768 (using two 1024x768 15" VGA touchscreens)

Additional Comments: Cool temperatures, quiet.

I'll actually be building a custom case using the shell of the case that I buy, some wood, and an aluminum plate that will house the computer along with the touchscreen monitors in a box I'm building into the top of an old MIDI organ. I've uploaded a quick concept image that I worked up at the link below (it still needs a bit more work, but should give you the idea of what I'm trying to do). I'll be making a board to go over the piano keys so that I can use a regular keyboard and mouse with the system when playing games and designing in Inventor.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/_RkLVQlI2ISo/Ta46SoO3...

Current Parts List:

AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE w/ Coolermaster GeminII Cooler Combo = $167.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound = $9.98
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI 870-G45 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard = $69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Dual Channel Kit = $42.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER Silent Pro M600 RS-600-AMBA-D3 600W ATX12V V2.3 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Bronze Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply = $79.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD502HJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive = $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

LITE-ON Black 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD Writer = $22.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI R6850 Cyclone PE Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 = $174.99 (+$15.00 Mail-in Rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Sunbeam Quarterback IC-QB-SVBK Silver/ Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case = $39.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Zonet ZEW2590 IEEE 802.11b/g/n USB 2.0 High Gain Wireless Adapter = $29.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total Current Cost: $688.88 + $21.51 (shipping) = $710.39

Shipping puts it a bit over the top end of the budget I set for myself for the computer parts themselves. Any ideas on ways to trim the fat or substitutions I could make? The Sunbeam case was the best rated inexpensive ATX case that I could find that came with 4x120mm fans. I figure that I'm going to need at least 4 120mm fans to cool the larger case I'm building and since the case includes them, it saves me the $14 it would cost to get a pack of 4 Coolermaster fans. I know that if I switched out the 955 BE with an X4 925, X2 555 BE, or X2 560 BE, I could increase the RAM to 8gb and possibly still put the total cost below $700 after shipping. Is this worth it? Also, the monitors I'm getting have molex connectors on them to power them off an ATX power supply (30w max. power consumption per monitor). Do you guys think a 600w power supply will be big enough to power all of the computer parts I've selected and still have enough room for the 60w power draw of the monitors without reaching full capacity? Or should I get a smaller PSU for the computer and use a secondary power supply (I've got a couple old ones lying around) to power the monitors separately.

Any insight or assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
April 20, 2011 5:55:53 AM

How about ditching that crappy AMD build and going this route:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


$683 shipped with case promo code. Still have a 6850 and you get a free game!

Edit: If you think you need more than 550W then here are a few alternative PSU's http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|17-182-200^17-182-200-TS%2C17-371-031^17-371-031-TS%2C17-815-010^17-815-010-TS%2C17-371-015^17-371-015-S01

I usually wouldn't recommend a Rosefail PSU but this one got a decent review: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Rosewill-Green-S...
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April 20, 2011 1:19:22 PM

If you could wate a while longer the AM3+ boards will be out, with the bulldozer cpus
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