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Please help me to build a system budget 500 to 800

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November 23, 2011 2:18:29 PM

Hi,

Most of my computers are MAC and I emulate Windows. However, at my research lab (I'm a PhD Student) my main machine is Windows 7, a very powerful dell (I think.) I'm been wanting to get my a Windows Desktop. First I started looking a systems already built, but since I used to make my own PC (before moving to mac) , I think I will be better off building one myself. However, it has been probably more than 6 or 7 years since I have done it, and there are so many options out there, that I need some help.

In the past, I have used primarily Intel CPU and all my computers that I have (including macs and the windows 7) are intel. So, I guess I can continue with the same. For most part, I have always used Intel, but I'm not closed to AMD. For motherboards, the ones that I had success in the past were Asus, Gigabyte, SuperMicro (for servers) and than motherboards. Of course, Asus seem to be always one of the most expensive.

One of the problems that I have building my system is that I'm not sure which motherboard to pick. I would like something that is not expensive, but yet has nice features and has the ability to upgrade additional ram (possibly more than 8gb) and some room.

I don't want the machines to play games, but part of my research does requires to do heavy graphics either using OpenGL or OGRE3D. I'm not going to run any virtual machines, but having the extra power if I need to run one in vmware workstation will work. I will use Windows 7 but it will be nice that I will be able to use it when Windows 8 comes out (but I'm only concern with windows 8)

Because video cards can be expensive, I don't need a very powerful one now, specially that I could change it later. but it has to be able to support the latest if possible of opengl and possibly the newest directx that is in used for windows 7.

I just one video card , preferably nvidia chipset to have something different from the one at school (ATI) . But if the motherboard has the option to have 2 video cards, or say 4, it is even better.

In general, the system does not need to be so powerful now, but I will like to in time add/replace
video cards
memory

with this in mind, I give you the description for the system .


Approximate Purchase Date: No later than January 2012, but i can start buying some of the parts before

Budget Range: 500 to 800 dollars (before rebates... if I get rebates, fine, but I hate rebates.) but if needed, I can go up to 1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: OpenGL and 3DOgre3D , Visual Studio 2010 and DirectX3D for most important, secondary maybe to run Vmware workstation , third maybe to run some emulation software for older computer (Atari 8-bit for example, Atari ST) and of course Internet.

Parts Not Required: No software required (School gives me access to all the software that I need) , no monitor, no speakers, no mouse, no keyboard

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I'm open to buy from anywhere, but my prefer site is amazon.com and 2nd choice is newegg.com

Country: I'm in Miami, FL USA

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: I prefer Intel and possible Asus if I can afforded. I would like the motherboard to have the option to have more than one video card (if I can afford it) while not getting the extra video cards. The tower could be mid-size, but if it could be more slim, it will always be a plus. some acer computer have an slim tower. Space it is always a problem, but mid-tower can be the biggest I can deal with.

Overclocking: Maybe NOT. I have never done this, and I don't know if I really need it. I rather not.

SLI or Crossfire: Does this refers to the ATI Crossfire ? I'm not sure here

Monitor Resolution: While I'm not getting a monitor, the highest resolution that the video card can give me , the better.

Storage: I don't need huge storage. 500GB would be nice and 1TB is the max that I need. I have used the WD 2TB (quiet/"green") version for my mac tower and they are great.

Memory: 4Gb is ok but I prefer 8GB. I do want space to grow, say 16 or 32gb.

Additional Comments: It would be nice to have a quiet PC.

If I need to increment my budget, then I would have to push the date of purchased.

thank you so much,
Francisco

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November 23, 2011 6:19:34 PM
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Hey, welcome to Tom's! First, I would like to clarify Crossfire/SLI. Chances are, you won't need them, since you're not gaming. Crossfire and SLI means you use 2 of the same gfx cards, put a cable between them, and have them work together to simulate a more powerful graphics card. Here is my build suggestion:


Intel core i5 2500k $225
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 $145
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-Z68M-D2H $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Antec Three Hundred $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F2 HD103SI 1TB $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB $77
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Heatsink+Fan: STOCK $0

DVD-ROM: LG DVD Burner 24X $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $831

Explanation: The i5 2500k is one of the best CPUs on the market, it doesn't, however, have the ability to hyper thread, so if you are going to be doing a lot of CPU intensive work, I recommend you add another $100 and get the i7 2600k. If you aren't going to be doing CPU intensive work, then the i5 is perfect. The 6850 has DirectX11, and is one of the better gfx cards, if you want to save some money, you can get another card that is lower, such as the 6790 or the 6770, both will work, since you aren't doing graphically intense stuff, such as gaming. Gigabyte board, nothing much to say about it. The 500W PSU is sufficient for your needs, and it's from a reliable company. The hard drive is 1TB, green, which means it spins slower at only 5200RPM. 16GB of DDR3 1333Mhz RAM...more than enough for anything.
November 23, 2011 9:31:07 PM

r0aringdrag0n said:
Hey, welcome to Tom's! First, I would like to clarify Crossfire/SLI. Chances are, you won't need them, since you're not gaming. Crossfire and SLI means you use 2 of the same gfx cards, put a cable between them, and have them work together to simulate a more powerful graphics card. Here is my build suggestion:


Intel core i5 2500k $225
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Graphics: SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 $145
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MoBo: GIGABYTE GA-Z68M-D2H $105
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 500W $65
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case: Antec Three Hundred $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F2 HD103SI 1TB $140
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB $77
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Heatsink+Fan: STOCK $0

DVD-ROM: LG DVD Burner 24X $19
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: $831

Explanation: The i5 2500k is one of the best CPUs on the market, it doesn't, however, have the ability to hyper thread, so if you are going to be doing a lot of CPU intensive work, I recommend you add another $100 and get the i7 2600k. If you aren't going to be doing CPU intensive work, then the i5 is perfect. The 6850 has DirectX11, and is one of the better gfx cards, if you want to save some money, you can get another card that is lower, such as the 6790 or the 6770, both will work, since you aren't doing graphically intense stuff, such as gaming. Gigabyte board, nothing much to say about it. The 500W PSU is sufficient for your needs, and it's from a reliable company. The hard drive is 1TB, green, which means it spins slower at only 5200RPM. 16GB of DDR3 1333Mhz RAM...more than enough for anything.


Thank you much for your help.

I'm also glad to be at toms hardware. I had used the site before, but the first time for the forum. I'm extremely amazed but the willingness of people to help here. Not only because your answer, but because I seen other threads. A very nice community.

As far as the CrossFire/SLI, now that you mention it, I know what you are talking about. That will allow some of the operations to bypass the cpu (when copying data.)

I was looking at some motherboards with the ability to have two video cards while I will still push 1.

While my work is not gaming, the graphics can be intensive. Of course, I could always upgrade to a better video card.

I was looking at the two articles about the z68 here in tom's hardware.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68a-gd80-p8z68-del...

and

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68xp-ud3-dz68db,29...


By the way, I sow the Gigabyte. G1.Assassin http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/568-xl-atx-g1-... and it is a monster. but a overkill for what I need.

really, I would only need 2 graphics cards to play with some OpenCL and some testing. but one is enough to start while having the extra card.

Now, I did see that some boards (are more expensive) have PCI-x 3.0 .. I wonder if this is worth having.

Your specs are very helpful and I think I'm going to go with either Intel I5 and the rest of specs you recommended. The only doubt that I will have to do more research is with the motherboard, to see if it could take 2 video cards in the future.

thanks,
Francisco

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November 23, 2011 9:31:34 PM

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