Still deciding on a Sandy Bridge CPU

Hello Everyone,

I am almost ready to put my new rig together. The only thing I still need to purchase is a CPU. Since I need to go to Boston Logan Airport tomorrow I will make a pit stop at the Microcenter in Cambridge. Basically I am still trying to decide on the CPU. Here are my options;

i3 2100 - $100 (the rational part of me says this is enough)
i5 2400 - $150 (this is what my gut is telling me I need)
i5 2500K - $180 (I think I should just save the money and skip this one).

The bottom line is I know I am probably over building this PC for what I do. However, I like to get 5-7 years out of builds. My current PC is P4 HT machine that I have run into the ground over the last 7.5 years. Below are my requirements;

1) Photoshop and Lightroom
2) General computing; browsing, email, MS Office
3) Eventually would like it to serve as DVR. Maybe by X-MAS (this would be a secondary function).
4) Ability to run 2 VirtualBox VMs. I would like to have the ability for 2-3 users do basic computing tasks simultaneously on this one box. I am doing it at work right now with 7 VMs on powerful workstation.
5) Be quiet.
6) I have no real desire to OC. I have four kids running around and no time or desire to tinker with BIOS settings. I wish I did but I don't. I fondly remembering OCing old school AMD DX4 processors. At this stage in my life I just want to plug it an it work.
7) The ability to play Civilization V. I have 2 boys 9 and 10 and sure there demands in the upcoming years will be more so.

This is what I have purchased to date. I think I did pretty good price wise However, I feel I am definitely over doing it and bought some "luxury" items. Prices already reflect combo discounts and rebates. My budget is (was) $1000.

Case - Antec 300 - $60 (bought an additional 2.5 inch adapter)
Power Supply - Seasonic X-Series 650w Gold Plus Certified $100 - Overkill but very silent and good price
Optical Drive - ASUS DVD Burner - $25
GPU - Saphire Vapor-X 5770 - $86 (Vapor-X are supposed to be quiet)
Motherboard - Asus P8P67 - $120 wanted a full ATX board for PCI support mATX didn't cover it.
RAM - GSkill Ripjaws X 8gb - $75
Card Reader - Nippon Labs - $16
SSD - Crucial C300 128GB - $175 - did I mention I wanted it to be quiet. This put me over budget.
OS - Windows 7 Professional - $125 (mainly for the windows virtual PC if I don't do VirtualBox)
Monitor - LG IPS 23" - $235 the wife is a semi professional photographer she really needed this.

Total Cost without CPU $1017 budget was $1000 (so I splurged on the power supply and ssd).

Based on what I presented any recommendation on which way I should go with the CPU. I am over budget am I going to notice the difference of going with the i3 2100 over the i5 2400. I know all you OCers out there will say I am nuts not buying the 2500K for $30 more. I just don't see myself ever needing it.

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  1. Best answer
    The i5 2400 is the way to go for you. Your gut was correct.

    As for the motherboard, I'd suggest this just because it leaves you with the option to crossfire in the future if you needed it. If not at least you have that option.
  2. Thanks for the quick reply. Good to hear my gut was correct. I really don't see me doing crossfire. I would have been content with a 5670. However, a coupon and rebate made the 5770 very affordable. I was prepared to go with H67 and the on board GPU until I found a deal on a video card. However, the selection of H67 motherboards in the ATX form factor was pretty much non-existent.
  3. PhotoShop really wants fast low latency RAM, lots of it, and multiple threading. The 2600k is king here but unfortunately out of budget reach.

    Case - Antec 300 - Good choice, hope it was the Illusion version w/ extra fans

    Power Supply - OK, can save ya some money here....XFX Core Edition 650 is a great PSU and saves you $30

    Optical Drive - Just fne

    GPU - My son is a photo nut and it seems that the crowd favors nVidia, I dunno if it's real or imagined as it's not my thing.....if video editing gets added to the mix, nVidia's CUDA does provide a distinct edge.

    Motherboard - Asus P8P67 - A dual slot board would provide significant upgrade opportunities.

    RAM - 4 threads yesterday on failed GSkill modules.

    If ya can afford it .....8GB as a minimum .... 16 if really into photo stuff

    Card Reader - Upgrade warranted

    SSD - All SSD's are quiet.... but 128 GB is simply not enough storage. Get an SSD if ya can afford one in addition to a HD. Of the better 1 TB 7200 rpm HD's the Seagate 7200.12 is by far the quietest. F3 is 4 times as loud and Black is 8 times as loud.

    OS - Windows 7 Professional - yup

    Monitor - I'd get the Asus
  4. Thanks for the recommendation on the HDD. I have a lot of storage on a Synology NAS in a RAID 1 configuration. The photo editing is done locally and gets up uploaded to the NAS every evening so it has a pretty short life locally. The NAS is then backed up nightly to a Western Digital Essential External HDD. I archive pretty much everything in this manner. Works for us.

    However, that being said it is a concern of mine and have been considering 7200.12. I have an old Seagate 7200.10 that I am thinking of sticking in there. However, it is quite loud during read/writes. Spinning isn't loud just when it is doing things. As for the Blacks I know they are loud. I have them in my NAS. However, for now it is not an immediate concern.

    Thanks for the other recommendations. I know about the power supply. It was pretty much an impulse buy. At this point it is not really worth the hassle of a return to Newegg. However, in another sense probably the most important part of the build so I am not being to hard on myself.

    Didn't buy the illusion I hate LED fans. Pretty light are for Christmas Trees :). Also depending on how loud they are I may swap them out anyway.

    Again thanks
  5. you can disable the LED fans with a razor blade. i got my antec illusion for $55 and did exactly that. the key is to cut only one of the leads to each LED, then you dont have to worry about shorting and it only takes a drop of solder if you change your mind.
  6. Cuda doesn't help at all in Photoshop. The only thing Adobe uses that even takes advantage of Cuda is a minor plug-in in Photoshop that editors typically don't use (I don't even see myself using the plug-in personally because of CS5's spot-heal tool).

    The only program Adobe has that actually benefits (but minor benefits) is the Mercury Engine for Adobe Premiere Pro. Even then, After Effects (typically what you'd use to retouch Premiere) doesn't utilize CUDA.

    Stig, to be honest I just suggest getting the H61 board I posted. Mainly because it is so much cheaper and is ATX, oh and your not OCing. Just my opinion though.

    OH have you already bought everything?
  7. Yes everything is bought except the CPU. That will be taken care of tomorrow at Microcenter. I didn't even look at the H61 chipset boards. I gave up after trying to find an ATX one with H67 chipset. There was Gigabyte one but people were complaining of all sort of reset issues. It was also more expensive then the P67 board I got. I got a $35 combo deal at Newegg with the purchase of the memory. So I got the P8P67 for $120 shipped (not too bad).
  8. Oh, I see.

    Well your build looks like it's going to be a great build!
  9. I read through your build recommendations in your signature. Looks like I followed a lot of your advice. It was a good read. Nice write ups.
  10. Haha, well thank you. But on your part, you did your research quite well.
  11. Best answer selected by stiglet.
  12. Have fun!
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