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Custom build help

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August 15, 2011 1:07:18 AM

I have a 6 year old alienware aurora that was hit by lightning. I need to rebuild and was thinking about doing it myself.

I mainly use the computer for both business & personal. I use Win 7 64 bit and Office Professional I burn a lot of dvd's for weddings and other occasions) I maintain a rather large music database (on a separate internal drive).

My sata drives appear to be fine, but don't know if I should count on them. 2 500gb and 1 tb. I store operating system and program files on 1 drive, music on 1 drive and my docs on another drive. I was going to add a 4th drive for pictures and videos, but didn't get around to it. I have dual monitors and was thinking about the possibility of another.

I am not interested in overclocking, blu-ray, bluetooth, tv tuners, etc.

I am looking for the fastest (without overkill) motherboard & processor. My system was liquid-cooled, but I don't know if I should just take it out and go with just fans.

I have a combo dvdrw/dvdrom that are ide and would like to use if you think I can. I had 8 usb ports and added an additional 4. I don't have anything that needs USB 3, but wouldn't mind having at least one. I had a soundblaster audio card, but it failed and I never replaced it. Using the on-board audio with surround speakers. Didn't have room either after putting in new video card and usb expansion.

Have an Asus motherboard and amd processor, but, while I've had no problems with them in these 6 years, don't know if they are the best choice for me. I want fast (I have zero patience). I usually have all kinds of programs running at the same time. I had 4 gb memory and will naturally want more. I originally spent $3300 on this machine 6 years ago and have upgraded certain things since, but am now under replacement cost for insurance purposes, so will have to stay within the price range that will be set by insurance company.

Am looking for components that will fit into my case and all play nice together. While I will rip into a case, I have never dealt with thermal paste, heat sinks, etc.

I hope I have given you enough information to point me in the right direction. I know I will need to replace power supply, motherboard and processor and video card, but was kind of hoping I could use my other components (dvd drives, media reader, usb expansion card, hard drives), unless you think it might be too risky.

Thank you for your help!

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a c 134 à CPUs
August 15, 2011 2:28:31 AM
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You can test the harddrives and see if they've been damaged or not.
Ditto for the dvd drive.
But having worked on lightnings systems before I can tell you it probably took out every single compnent in your system if it really was lightning. Surges/spikes are another story.

the i7-2600k is about the best processor on the market followed by the i5-2500k.
Ram is dirt cheap but 8gb should be fine though you might want to check with whatever video creation software you use and see what they recommend, often in content creation: more is always better.

Drive have come down amazingly and since you seem to like a responsive system an SSD is right up your alley. Use some 1tb Samsung F3's ($50) or WesternDigital Black 1tb drives for your data and scratch disks. Maybe a cheaper 2tb for pure storage like the F4EG ($80)

I recommend corsair power supplies and a decent UPS that outputs a true sinewave.

You're not an audiophile or you would have replaced the soundcard so whatever onboard sound your new motherboard comes with should be fine.

You'll need to check your contect creation software to see if they can take advantage of ATI or Nvidia graphic cards processing power or maybe even need a workstation class card like the Quaddro or FireGL.

AS for building it yourself; piece of cake.
August 15, 2011 3:49:56 AM

Thank you for your much needed advice. I was already leaning towards the i5-2500k, but wasn't sure what motherboard to go for. I also was leaning towards a GeForce GTX460 graphics card. I was just reading Tom's article on the SSD and the only question I have is: Would you use this for the operating system/program files or storage only? Will my sata drives work with new motherboard if it has the new sata 6 technology? Regarding the power supply, mine (which I know I have to replace, has the fan in the back and not on the top as it is mounted in the top of the case (maybe because of the liquid-cooling unit). The only one I found so far was one from PC Cooling.

It was thundering and lightning that day, but for some reason, my battery back-up beeped and died, right when I heard a lightning crack. So I don't know if I got a power surge, lightning strike, or both. Nothing else in the house was affected. Just my battery backup and everything plugged into it.
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August 22, 2011 12:36:01 AM

Best answer selected by LilAnn.
a c 134 à CPUs
August 25, 2011 2:37:11 AM

Watch out on the 460 if you use adobe, theres a bug where they cant use the card well if I remember right.
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