This is my first build (with my 12yr old son). I am a retired stock broker with mild/moderate tech knowledge and have spent the better part of the last 7 days scouring TMG, Newegg and multiple other forums for advice and information. I can not describe how helpful your site/forum is. That said, my eyes are starting to roll into the back of my head with the amount of information and topics to explore. I am at the point where I could really use the advice/blessing of this community in order to push forward with our build.
Budget Range: $1,000 give or take. I am happy to spend more if it is an intelligent spend. If it helps me do what I want that much better, I am open to suggestions.
System Usage from Most to Least Important:
1.) Fast Windows boot and close. Fast applications open/close.
2.) 3 monitors (eyefinity feature not important. I use mult monitors for project segmentation/multitasking purposes)
3.) Able to run multiple applications at the same time with ease and speed. For example having 20+ Firefox windows open, streaming CNBC video live, multiple Excel & Windows docs, pdfs, Bloomberg Terminal, photo viewing/editing. Some movie watching.
4.) Moderate gaming. Call of Duty & Company of Heroes currently. But want to have option to play somewhat more intensive games in future.
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Intel CPU, ASUS mobo, mid tower ATX case (space constraint, see below)
Overclocking: Maybe. Never done it. Would only consider if it significantly helps me with System Usage items (1,2,3) above.
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe. Would only consider if it significantly helps me with System Usage items (1,2,3) above.
Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024 max; 25ms rsp time
I plan to reuse my 3 Dell UltraSharp 1901FP - 19" TFT active matrix LCD displays for now. Will be adding high quality 24" to serve as the center monitor in the next 6months that would be primary viewing screen and also wld be used for gaming and video.
1.) I really want Windows and Apps to open very quickly. Could/should I Raid 0 an addl Crucial SSD. Would I notice? How complex a proposition would this be? Can my ASUS handle this or wld I need an addl controller?
2.) Should I get the i5-2500K instead of the 2400? I don't think I need to overclock for what I want to do today, but it seems easier to do with the P8P67 so might in the future. Is this a waste of money given my priorities?
3.) Cooling? I was planning to use the Intel heat sink/fan. Is this a bad idea with this setup? If so, suggestions?
4.) Better case? Function is more important than form, the box wont be seen. I am willing to spend over $100 if it has fewer surprises when i assemble. Will my GPU have any problems getting in the case? Any suggestions for another case that has better cable mgmt, more thoughtful layout, better fit & finish on the inside (ie all the necessary hardware, fewer sharp edges to get torn up on, no need to cut new holes etc) than this one i'd love to hear it.
I would go to a larger case but am somewhat constrained by the cabinet it will placed in (home office). The cabinet opening dimensions are (19.25"H x 16.25"W x 24"D), the internal dimensions of the enclosure are 1.5" larger all around. The cabinet door will be wide open when the PC is operating for ventilation.
5.) This is our first build, anything we should change to make this easier or help us avoid trouble. Ease of use/assembly is something I would pay for.
6.) NAS / iTunes: I have a HP MV2010 connected directly to the home network router. I plan to move the iTunes library off of my current PC to the NAS when I replace it with the new build. Anyone have good/bad experience with this? Can you access your iTunes content from any device on your network easily? Quickly? Or is it very slow given it is streaming over the CAT5
7.) NAS: if I choose to replace the HP MV2010 any suggestions? At a minimum, I would upgrade the MV2010 with 2 new 1TB HDD and set up as RAID for redundancy. I would value a replacement that is easy to setup/use and stable.
firstly... raid 0 in real world for what you want will offer little or no difference vs just having it on one good hard drive. If you want real quickness, you definately want SSD.
2nd - be sure to look at newegg combos! if you click on the link to your RAM listed, and go down to the combo they offer then click on "browse more combos" - 4th combo down is that RAM + a gigabyte z68 motherboard for $135 ($55 discount through combo) that board is actually slightly more updated than the ASUS u listed... but the ASUS is loaded with overclocking and multiple video card features it sounds like you will never need.
some recomdendation for better bang for your buck
*its actually same price after the discount code and rebates... but is slightly faster and better cooled
2) Samsung f3 1tb is universally regarded as the best bang for buck... its built on more modern platters than the one u had listed, will be quicker and more space for less money
3) checkout the OCZ 700watt power supply and Raidmax Quantum case. both are on HUGE sales right now on newegg and are excelent components (i use them both in one of my rigs)
You're on right track... Just figured i'd spend 10 minutes to try and save you $150 bucks while getting slightly better ocmponents too
also, video cards these days come with DVI outputs and typically one DVI to VGA converter. if your monitors are all VGA... you will need an extra DVI to VGA and also an HDMI to VGA (since it has 2 dvi outs, and 1 hdmi out)
if they're DVI monitors you have, then you will just need an hdmi to dvi
I will stick with one SSD. That is just the advice i needed. Keeps it simple and still just as effective.
I was going to sharpen the pencil and check all of the possible combo deals once I had narrowed down my config list, so thanks for reminding me of the "browse more combos" link. I was also planning to double check what comes in each package in case i need to order additional brackets/cables/bolts etc.
The gigabyte z68 motherboard alternative is interesting and I will dig in to see if i give up anything critical coming out of the ASUS. At first pass, it looks like a smaller board with fewer USB's. I was really interested in the ASUS EFI BIOS (EZ Mode). I don't have any experience setting BIOS and thought that user interface might make set up more intuitive for me. I also want to make sure my GPU fits and doesn't block anything on the Gigabyte board. Saving $135 without any critical feature loss would be huge and might avoid the Marvel controller issues being called out on the ASUS.
The ASUS GPU and Sapphire are both 6850's but you think the ASUS is faster? Cools better? You know that from experience or from reviews?
Good suggestion on the Samsung F3. That is now my HDD in the build.
As for the PSU and Case. Very much appreciate your callling them out. I went with Antec because they appear to be the most reliable. I would rather trade reliability for addl power and the OCZ reviews seem to have higher percentage of DOA's/Fails. But will look at it some more. On the case, I need USB's on the upper front face of the case. Having them on top is a problem in my situation. Other than that, it looked good.
As for the CPU, am i correct to assume I don't pick up any benefit (opening/closing apps) going with a fatter processor?
Thanks again for taking the time to give me your input.