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(2nd try) Need Advice on Dual Boot System for Forensics

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October 26, 2011 11:53:25 PM

Hey guys, 
I posted this thread originally in "prebuilt", but received ZERO response. So this is my 2nd try and getting some advice. I've tried to incorporate all the suggestions from the "before you post" guide and was hoping for advice for the following build, because I have a couple different levels to my requirements.  If posting in two threads is inappropriate, I apologize in advance, but since no response to the first attempt, I thought this might be the better venue.

Approximate Purchase Date: two weeks or as soon as I’ve gotten some feedback and consolidate suggestions. 
Parts Preferences: I would like to use an Intel CPU & Nvidia GPU, a 20" LED and Mid tower case) 
Overclocking: not sure 
SLI or Crossfire: SLI, Yes (eventually, especially if necessary for multi-monitor) 
Budget Range: approx. $2000.00 
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, speakers 
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, avadirect.com, amazon.com 
Country of Origin: USA but moving to the middle east 

System Usage
A) This system will be used overseas (currently in USA). The voltage overseas will be 230Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. Therefore all power supplies, monitors, ups, etc will have to be adaptable to this requirement. 

B) I anticipate my system will be dual boot Windows 7 and Linux (Linux Mint 11) with the desire to move completely over to Linux once I have gained the confidence and knowledge base. Currently a Linux NEWBIE...but a linux Newbie with a dream! 

C) I am NOT/NOT a gamer. The system will be used for pretty mundane home/office chores such as email/spreadsheets/downloading videos, and music, internet surfing, etc. however, i want to make sure it has the capacity to handle a Virtual Machine setup like Virtualbox or similar setup within Linux, because... 

D) I also anticipate using the system for cyber forensics analysis: imaging, examining, restoring HDDs and peripheral media, etc within a Virtual Machine environment and using Open Source Forensic tools...so having removable HDD bays/drawers would be great and very convenient. (if you have better solutions than what I've laid out, I'd be happy to hear them.) 

E) I hope to use compiz Fusion quite a bit to help transition my family to Linux, and want my GPU to handle compiz, dual monitors (eventually three monitors). I think the GTX 460 should do it, but not sure. Also think the 750W power supply list below, that will work overseas, should handle the aforementioned power needs. 

So here’s my setup. Not sure if I’m closer to "overkill", "not enough" or "just right". Almost this entire list was obtained from AVADIRECT.com as I anticipate having AVADIRECT put this system together. 

CASE: COOLER MASTER HAF 922 RC-922M-KKN1-GP Black Steel + Plastic and Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower External 5.25" DriveBays: 5 

POWER SUPPLY: Corsair, CMPSU-750TX TX series Power Supply, 750W, 80 Plus, 24-pin ATX12V EPS12V, Multi-GPU ready. 

MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte, GA-Z68A-D3-B3, LGA 1155 Intel Z68, DDR3-21333 32GB /4, PCIe x16 CF /2, SATA 3 Gb/s RAID 5/4 6Gb/s /2 , USB 3.0/2 HDA, GbLAN, BT, ATX Retail 

PROCESSOR: intel: Core i5-2500K Quad Core 3.3Ghz, HD Graphics 3000, LGA 1155, 6MB L3 Cache, 32nm, 95W, EM64T EIST TB VT-x XD, Retail 

RAM: G.Skill, 8GB, (2x4GB) RipJaws PC3-10600 DDR3 1333Mhz CL7 (7-7-7-21) 1.5V SDRAM, DIMM, Non-ECC 

GPU (Graphics Card): EVGA, GeForce GTX 460 720MHz, 1GB GDDR5 3600MHz, PCIe x 16 SLI, 2x DVI+Mini+HDMI, Retail 

HDD1: 120 GB,Intel 320 Series SSD MLC 270/130 MB/s, SATA 3 GB/s 2.5 inch (For the OS) 

HDD2: Seagate, 1TB Barracuda 7200. 12, SATA 6 Gb/s, 7200 RPM, 32MB Cache (For Data) 

DVD Burner: Sony, AD-7261S Black, 24x DVD +/- R/RW Dual-Layer Burner w/ Lightscribe, SATA 

Cooling: necessary? 

Missing anything?? 

Total according to AVADIRECT: $1155.75 

On a side note, I will also be purchasing: 
-- two (2) Acer S201HLbd Black 20" 5ms LED-Backlight LCD monitor 250 cd/m2 ACM 12,000,000:1 (1000:1) $99.00 (eventually three) 

-- Ergotech Triple Monitor Stand 100-D16-B03 = $245.00 

--APC Smart-UPS 1000VA LCD 120V = $469.00 (REALLY not sure about this, obviously pretty expensive but am concerned about quality and consistency of the power supply while overseas, plus the need for it to run on 230volts/50hz) 

--SOFTWARE: Based on my needs listed above: Is there any reason to go with the full version of Windows 7 or will an WIN 7 OEM from Newegg suffice? (from a loading and re-loading the OS stand point) 

Thanks in advance! 

Best solution

October 27, 2011 12:18:18 AM

Any Active PCF power supply will detect the input voltage and adjust the output voltage accordingly . The Corsair will be fine .Except its massive overkill .
500 watts is more appropriate

If you are not gaming then fitting the GTX 460 just wastes power and will be noisier than you need . Buy something half the price

I would use a m-ATX motherboard and case . Far more portable .
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October 27, 2011 2:41:14 AM

Outlander_04 said:
Any Active PCF power supply will detect the input voltage and adjust the output voltage accordingly . The Corsair will be fine .Except its massive overkill .
500 watts is more appropriate

If you are not gaming then fitting the GTX 460 just wastes power and will be noisier than you need . Buy something half the price

I would use a m-ATX motherboard and case . Far more portable .


+1. Also, many of AMD's cards from the 6000 series support 3 monitors natively without having to spend tons on the 6900 series.

Depending on how much RAM you need, you could even get a mini-ITX LGA 1155 board and a single GPU that fits your needs. Couple that with a nice Silverstone SUGO case and you're good to go with the mini build :D 
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October 27, 2011 6:04:40 AM

The GTX 460 is a gaming card. Any integrated GPU can run compiz fusion just fine.

Everything in your build is way overkill. $469 for a UPS ridiculous. Mine cost $120 and has been working like a champ for years now.

So long as you have a quad core cpu, ssd and at least 8 gigs of ram (virtual machines require lots of ram) you will be quite happy.
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October 30, 2011 3:28:42 PM

Thanks for the great feedback. I definitely have no interest in overkill...as I don't believe in future proofing.
I thought I had found the sweet spot with the GTX 460 from a capability of dual monitors, Compiz, etc.
I've looked at the comparative charts of GPUs and was looking at Nvidia because it seemed to have the best reputation working with Linux.

I'm not really in married to Nvidia OR AMD, so if there is a specific GPU that would work best with my configuration? Compiz, multi-monitor, linux, WIN7....Could you please identify the exact make/model. My problem is I don't have context as to the ballpark area of within the comparative GPU charts to know what I should use.

when I did the "math" for my power supply, I was thinking 750 would be a good size given, that I anticipate running 3 monitors, the SSD, HDD, as well as possibly 2 other hard drives, plus a couple peripherals.

I haven't looked at mini towers yet, as I was concerned about being able to load 2-3 swappable hard drives for the forensics aspect and assumed the best form factor for that would be the mid-tower.

If I can save money in certain aspects, then maybe I'll spend that money on extra ram for the Virtual Machine aspect.

Thanks again, and hope I've hit the right reply button! Looking forward to a little follow-up, before I order my machine!
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October 30, 2011 3:31:57 PM

RaptorHunter said:
The GTX 460 is a gaming card. Any integrated GPU can run compiz fusion just fine.

Everything in your build is way overkill. $469 for a UPS ridiculous. Mine cost $120 and has been working like a champ for years now.

So long as you have a quad core cpu, ssd and at least 8 gigs of ram (virtual machines require lots of ram) you will be quite happy.


That's really good to know. Does your UPS have the capapility to work 240V and 50 cycles. When I plugged in these specs in the "UPS finder" it provided this model. Could you provide me the make/model that you use? As I mentioned before, if I can save money on various aspects of this build, I can funnel the money towards more RAM.
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November 4, 2011 12:02:28 AM

Best answer selected by WeeDram.
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