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Multipurpose Content Creation PC $1000-1300

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May 1, 2011 4:25:59 AM

Hi Everyone,

I need to build a PC for various kinds of content creation: music, graphics, programming, office, etc. I have been getting up to speed on the PC parts climate these days, and Tom's Hardware has been the most valuable info source. Now I am pretty close to ordering a batch of parts, and I was hoping to run my preliminary selection by some experts. Here's my Tentative Newegg Part List.

I will be dual booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu. I'm a little worried about getting parts that physically fit together well, so any definitive info on that would be especially appreciated.

And now I'll start with the template from "How to ask for new build advice":

Approximate Purchase Date: This week, but would wait longer if a significant hardware release is around the corner

Budget Range: USD 1000 - 1300 before rebates, including monitor

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
- Electronic music production (need a "serious" audio interface for recording)
- Image editing in Photoshop and Illustrator
- Software development, testing out demanding 3D image processing algorithms
- Plenty of web browsing and office software
- Wouldn't mind gaming capability if it's affordable

Parts Not Required: keyboard (using a Model M :love: ), speakers (going into a home stereo)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, but i'm not aware of that many part sites

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: Must have at least 23" monitor. I've used Intel CPUs in the past but I would switch given a good reason.

Overclocking: Not now, but I'd like to keep the possibility open if CPU performance becomes a bottleneck

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1080p


Comments:
This is a home computer, but I will be programming on it to finish up old work projects and because I need to continually learn new programming skills. I would like to learn CUDA programming on this computer, so I need an Nvidia GPU, but it doesn't have to be a beefy one.

Music production is my main hobby use, but I mostly make electronic music with software - I won't be recording full bands or anything. I do need a quiet PC so I can record vocals and instrument samples, but it doesn't have to be 100% silent.

I don't edit crazy large images in Photoshop, so Photoshop performance is not a huge deal.

Questions:

- I have an Iomega 3.5" 250GB external USB 2.0 drive. I was going to remove it from the enclosure and use it as the OS/Programs drive, and keep all my data on the new 1TB drive. Is there any problem removing the disk from factory-built external drives? I opened it up and there is a circuit board attached to the drive connectors; it is a SATA drive though.

- Should I go with a SSD for OS and Programs? My impression is it's not a fully mature technology yet.

- Should I wait for Z68 motherboards? Quick Sync and SSD caching both seem like cool features, but nothing I couldn't live without. Will there even be Z68 mobos at the $150 price point? Will P67 just fall off the map? I hear they're coming out in a week or so, so I can wait if it's worth it.


If the link to my Newegg wish list is bad, I would be happy to repost the part list in thread; just let me know.
Thanks a lot for the help!
May 1, 2011 11:04:23 PM

In the process of building a similar rig. Any reason why you choose to go with the i5 over i7?

I am thinking the same thing when it comes to SSD's. Wait a bit and get a cheaper and better SSD.

I would not recommend putting Win OS on external HD since it is not really portable anyway.

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