Questions: $900-$1,100 Enthusiast Photo/Video Build

Approximate Purchase Date: Throughout August–November. I plan to purchase 1–3 parts a month (budget permitting) getting the last of the parts no later than Black Weekend, 2011.
Budget Range: $900–$1,100 before rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: 1} Video/Photo editing station, 2} Gaming, 3} Dual-boot Windows/Linux rig
Parts Not Required: OS, Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers.
Preferred Websites for Parts: New Egg, Fry's Outpost, Micro Center. Though I'm open to suggestions of other, reputable spots I should buy from.
Country of Origin: The U.S.A. (Massachusetts)
Overclocking: Yes (just the processor)
SLI: Yes (eventually)
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080, 23"

Additional Comments: Intending this to also be a build that will last me at least 4 years (though 8 would be pretty keen) with the following upgrade path: Graphics — Eventually add a second graphics card as necessary (which will also necessitate an upgrade in PSU, I think); Memory — Start w/ 8GB and slowly increase until the MoBo capacity is reached (32GB); Hard Drives — Start with one 1TB drive, upgrade to a SSD (for the OS's) and second or third HDD.

Hi All! This is my second build. The last one I did was back in high school, seven years ago, so a lot has changed and hopefully I still know what I'm doing. Did a lot of reading here on Tom's and for the initial price grab I focused on New Egg (haven't spotted cheaper prices elsewhere as of yet). Within my budget I've tried to put together a computer that (for me) will be somewhat "future proof", here meaning something that'll last me at least 4 years, though if I can squeeze 8 years out of it that'd be pretty keen. I've put questions about individual components down below, and any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Processor: $315 Intel Core i7-2600K
The only overclocking I'm planning to do is with the processor — thusly the K-series appeared to be the route to go. As far as the i5 vs. the i7, from what I've read they're close enough if one is planning to build a gaming focused rig, but the i7 takes the clear lead with regards to video work, the main focus of this build.

Motherboard: $165 GIGABYTE GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68
My primary requirements in looking for a MoBo were that it had the Z68 chipset, Lucidlogix Virtu, and two PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots. The Z68 chipset and Virtu to speed up video work productivity, and the PCI Express 2.0 x16 would allow me to eventually upgrade to two 560 Tis. After that, having a 1394 port was necessary (1394a being preferred), again for video work. Lastly, I wanted at least one PS/2 port for use with a mechanical keyboard. I noticed that an ASRock MoBo that was more expensive touts one of its feature as "Supports Intel K-Series unlocked CPU." Doesn’t the Gigabyte board also support the Intel K-Series? Is this just marketing hype?

Graphics: $225 PNY VCGGTX560TXPB GeForce GTX 560 Ti
It was between the GTX 460, the GTX 560, and the GTX 560Ti. The GTX 460 seems like a pretty solid card, and the GTX 560 seems like a nice middle between the 460 and the 560 Ti, but with the current cost of the 560 Ti dropping and thinking in terms of future upgrades, the 560 Ti (un-overclocked) seems like the smartest move. With regards to what I play, it's a fair amount of abandonware and older games, with Portal 2 and Team Fortress 2 being the most recent/heavier games I'd throw at it. I was aiming for something under $225. I also noticed that EVGA had a card on New Egg for $215 after mail-in rebate: EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR. Would the 560 Ti be overkill for what I'm playing? Would the 460 not be future proof enough?

Memory: $55 G.Skill F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL
The price keeps dropping on this great set of sticks. Similar to my question with the MoBo, there's a couple sets of more expensive expensive memory (the G.SKill Ripjaws X F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL and the Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9) that tout they're for Intel processors and the Z68 motherboards. Are MoBos really that finicky/will the difference be noticeably greater between the cheaper RAM and either of these? Or is this just a marketing gimmick? All three are 1.5V, CS9, and 9-9-9-24, so they seem to be the same apart from a $10–$15 difference.

Hard Drive: $60 Western Digital Caviar Blue WD10EALX 1TB
After reading as much as I could find about the WD Caviar series, I concluded that Caviar Blue would be the best for my budget and needs. The Caviar Green sounds like it runs a bit too slow (constantly shutting off to save energy) but the only difference I could find between the Blue and the Black is the length of the warranty (3 vs. 5 years). The two Caviar Blacks I looked at (the Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB and the Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB) either had a slower SATA (which... you know... is slower) or a larger, 64MB cache (which I've read doesn't effect speed as much these days?) and come at a cost of $25–$30 more. The contender I'm most curious about though is the Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB which people have said great things about and is the same cost as the Caviar Blue. Does anyone have opinions one way or another re: The Caviar Blue vs. the Spinpoint F3?

Optical: $70 Samsung SH-B123L
Admittedly I've splurged a little here. Blu-Ray burners are still too expensive and slow to be worth buying, but I'd like to at least have Blu-Ray reading capabilities since I don't have any sort of HD player currently and it'd be nice to be able to play HD movies on my 1080p 23" monitor. If anyone wants to make an argument otherwise (either for a Blu-Ray burner or a less-expensive DVD burner), I'm all ears.

Power: $90 Corsair TX650 V2
The TX650 (pre-V2) has been pretty popular in TH's System Builder series. The V2 seems like just the same thing, except less expensive and more energy efficient (it has the 80 Plus Bronze rating as opposed to the base, 80 Plus). Am I missing something? Also, is this the right wattage of power for my build? I know I'll need more if/when I add a second graphics card, but for the time being, is 650 suited to my needs? Should I go lower or higher or stay the same? I know this is one area where I definitely shouldn't cut corners but it's also the one area where I understand my needs the least.

Case: $60 Antec Three Hundred
Another favorite of the TH's System Builder series. This seems to be the right price point and physical space for all the parts, but my one concern is that... well will it be adequate in the ways of cooling given that I'd like to overclock the i7-2600K CPU?

TOTAL: $1,040
3 answers Last reply
More about questions enthusiast photo video build
  1. the samsung spinpoint is just as reliable, but faster than the wd hdd you posted.
    if you are looking to sli that card you need 750w of power-
    that case doesnt come w/ any fans-
  2. mjmjpfaff said:
    the samsung spinpoint is just as reliable, but faster than the wd hdd you posted.
    if you are looking to sli that card you need 750w of power-
    that case doesnt come w/ any fans-

    Cool! Thank you for the info. I'll go with the Spinpoint then.

    As far as SLI, should I go for 750W if I'm not planning to SLI right away? It's more a consideration for a future upgrade a few years down the road.

    With the cases, thanks for the heads up! Does that mean the fans listed under "cooling system" are actually just the slots available?
  3. dont upgrade your psu later. get the 750w right now.

Ask a new question

Read More

New Build Photo Systems Product