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Value build for movies/internet/photoshop

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June 19, 2011 10:59:07 PM

Bear with me, guys; This will be my first build. Just a week ago I didn't even know the difference between Intel and AMD.

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Approximate Purchase Date: This month


Budget Range: <$500 would be nice, but I'll pay more if needed.


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Blu-ray rips, internet, photoshop, MS office.


Parts Not Required: 24" Samsung T240HD monitor, Creative Gigaworks S750 7.1 speakers, keyboard, mouse, and I would like to re-use my Antec VP450 PSU if possible, but will buy a bigger PSU if needed.


Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Whatever is cheapest, probably newegg, amazon, or tigerdirect.


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: AMD, only because I've read their CPUs offer the best value, but other than that I don't care.


Overclocking: Probably not.


SLI or Crossfire: No.

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1200.


Additional Comments: My 6 year old Dell (Pentium 4 630, Dell 0J8885 mobo, 4GB DDR2 RAM, NVidia GeForce 7300GT) is almost adequate for what I use it for, but it's really slow/laggy. I keep a ton of firefox tabs open, which slows it down further, and I can't play blu-ray rips or watch HD youtube clips because the video is too jerky.

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Here's what I am looking at so far. Most of the info I've come across is geared towards gaming systems, so I think the system I'm putting together may be a little overkill. If I can save money by downgrading without affecting performance I would like to do so.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE 3.2 GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO: MSI 870A-G54, although I've read that (x16/x4) is bad. Is that true?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: Corsair CMX4GX3M1A1333C9 XMS3 4GB DDR3 RAM - PC10666, 1333MHz, 4096MB
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

GPU: Here's where I got stuck. Do I need a discrete GPU if I'm not gaming, but only watching blu-ray rips and photoshopping?

Sound card: Do I need a sound card for my 7.1 speakers if my mobo handles 7.1?

HDD: Will a small SSD to run Windows and programs provide any benefit to me as a non-gamer, or should I just go with a platter drive?

June 19, 2011 11:16:48 PM

Since you don't intend to Crossfire as long as you have one x16 PCIe you are fine.
If you want to get the 8x/8x for whatever reason Asrock 870 extreme 3 has those for $89.99 it's a good choice for you otherwise as well.
IF you want to do some future proofing an AM3+ MB might be handy but then I'm pretty sure the current one will work wonders.

That CPU has good bang for buck and is perfect for you needs with multitasking.

4GB of ram should be enough for you, just get a 2x2GB kit instead so that you can take advantage of dual channel.

You might be able to scrape by with integrated 4250, but then spending 50-60$ on a GPU that will give you everything you need ( and a little bit of gaming performance too if you happen to want to ) should be fine. Radeon HD 5670 is such a card and will nicely do everything you need.

The sound card question is a bit trickier. If you have a receiver where the speakers are hooked to then no, because you would be using an optical or coaxial output (or via HDMI) which has all the channels. But if you have separate cables for each part then most likely yes you do need a separate card.

The SSD will make the machine feel more responsive to your actions, so yes you can benefit from it. Probably a 40-64GB one would be plenty for that. This would help with those slow loading firefox windows :) 

You existing PSU will be more than enough, so you can definitely re-use it.


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Best solution

June 19, 2011 11:45:53 PM

MB:Asrock 870 Extreme 3 $89.99
CPU: Phenom II x4 955 BE $113.99
MEM: Gskill ripjaws 2x2GB $45.99
PSU: Exisiting Antec VP450
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB $59.99
GPU: XFX 5670 1GB $72.99 ( before $20 MIR )
DVD: Asus 24x DVD+/-RW $19.99
Total: $402.94 before rebates ( or any coupons and such )

Not sure if you need an OS or a Case. If so then the budged is a bit tight as the rest of the money would be put to OS (win7 home premium 64bit OEM) and you would still make it under 500 but if you still need to fit the case then you would be going a bit over. But probably you can use the dell case as long as it supports standard ATX motherboards.

If you don't need an OS or Case there is still room in the budget about 120 after the rebate to get a 40-64GB SSD if you want it.

I checked the inputs of your sound system and I think the MB supports the 4 outputs you need and 7.1 in general so I think you are good on that front.
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June 20, 2011 3:58:26 AM

Thanks for the info and recommendations. I think I'm just about set.

The $500 budget was just a ballpark. If I have to spend more it's not a problem, I just don't want to spend more than I have to.

I know you mentioned a 40-64GB SSD, but do you think this 16GB would be too small for my OS and some programs?

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

If that one's too small, I'll probably go with this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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June 20, 2011 7:39:47 AM

The 16GB is too small and it's quite expensive for the size.

The 64GB crucial M4 is a good choice and the pricing is < $2 / GB.

So did you think about getting a case or do you intend to use the one you have?
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June 21, 2011 2:18:34 AM

rvilkman said:
The 16GB is too small and it's quite expensive for the size.

The 64GB crucial M4 is a good choice and the pricing is < $2 / GB.

So did you think about getting a case or do you intend to use the one you have?


Yep, I'm going to need a case. I want to keep my Dell together in case I ever need a back-up.
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June 21, 2011 7:06:50 AM

Well this is pretty much up to your personal tastes then.

Antec 300 Illusion at $69.99 with free shipping. It is pretty nice and comes with 4 adjustable fans for cooling. It is in general a better deal than the regular Antec 300 since for 10 bucks you get the extra 2 fans.
The lights on it are not very bright, so you don't have to worry about the blue leds in the fans lighting up the room :) 

Coolermaster HAF912 at $59.99 ($49.99 after rebate) is also in the $50-$75 price range.

As long as it fits your ATX motherboard pretty much any midsized tower case will do.
But I can highly recommend the Antec 300 illusion as I own 2 of them and they are great.
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June 21, 2011 3:57:45 PM

I like both of those. Im leaning toward the Antec, though. Can the LEDs be turned off, or just not plugged in?

How does this setup look? The HDD you recommended before is sold out so I found a WD Caviar Green, and the GPU you recommended requires a 500w PSU (mine is only 450w) so I found a Sapphire 5570. I can buy a bigger PSU if I need to, but I dont want to if I dont have to.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 955 BE
MOBO: ASROCK 870 Extreme3
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaw 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 5570
SSD: OCZ Vertex 2 40GB
HDD: WD 1TB Caviar Green
PSU: Antec VP450
DVD: ASUS 24x DVD Burner
Media reader: Scythe KAMA reader 2

With Windows 7 Home Premium 64 OEM, and probably the Antec Case.
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June 21, 2011 4:23:30 PM

You can probably get the regular antec 300 as the leds in the illusion can't be turned off without actually messing with the fans with a soldering iron or something :) 
It should have sufficient airflow for you and it seems to be on sale for $44.95 after mail in rebate.
Your 450W antec should be more than enough to run the 5670.

5670 doesn't even use an external PCIe connector so the maximum powerdraw is 75W ( which is the same as the 5570 ) and it gets this all from the PCI express 16x bus, so 450W is fine for your setup with the 5670. And since you are not doing much gaming the powerdraw will stay down quite a bit even from that.

The manufacturers just tend to overestimate a bit as well as calculators at least at newegg round up by quite a bit to sell higher wattage psu's.
If you take a loot at other 5670's they are listed at 400W and the 500W if you intend to run 2 of them in crossfire, which is closer to the truth.

So basically CPU 125W + GPU 75W = 200W, the rest obviously take something but those two are the major components and you are far far away from 450W.

Of course the 5570 will probably do everything you need as well, but 5670 would have a bit more horsepower for hardly any cost.
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June 21, 2011 5:03:09 PM

Sweet, I'll go with the 5670, then.

Do I need to buy SATA cables or anything other small parts, or do the components generally come with everything I need?

Thanks for all the help.
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June 21, 2011 5:16:17 PM

The motherboard comes with the required cables to hook up your drives. So you should be all set.
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June 22, 2011 1:40:03 AM

oh ok, nice.
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June 29, 2011 10:07:35 AM

Best answer selected by BBSLM.
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