System Usage from Most to Least Important: Photo database, genealogy database, Photoshop editing, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 HD video editing. No games, ever.
Parts Not Required: Monitors, keyboard, mouse, speakers, 3.5" floppy drive
Preferred Website for Parts: NewEgg.com
Parts Preferences: Intel i7 2700K, ASUS motherboard, full tower case, Nvidia GTX 570, don't want liquid cooling
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: 2048 x 1152 (monitor one), 1600x1200 (monitor two)
Additional Comments: Need to replace my decade-old system, as follows:
Existing System From 2001:
Building my own finely-tuned system for just over $2,000 ten years ago has surprisingly allowed me to keep running everything I've thrown at it, even a decade later. I don't play games. I do photo and genealogy database work and Adobe CS5 Photoshop and some basic Premiere work.
My main desktop system is an eight year old Athlon 1700+ 1.46Ghz system with 3GB RAM, dual 7200rpm 100GB hard drives, and the fastest 1GB video card available for the motherboard's AGP video slot.
I've also managed to keep this original decade-old Windows XP Pro installation intact and running smoothly without ever re-installing or wiping a hard drive clean.
New System For 2011/2012:
My goal for a new system is to build it around the i7 2700K processor and to have tons of hard drive space, along with one of the lowest end video cards that supports the Adobe CS5 Mercury Playback Engine, and I've chosen the GTX570. I want to use this new system to edit 1080p video in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 using the Mercury Playback Engine.
When I planned a new system a while back, 1TB hard drives were as low as $40, but now they have skyrocketed to between $140 and $240 each, raising the total price of my three 1TB hard drives from $120 to between $420 and $720 -- ouch. I've decided to just get one 1TB to 3TB drive for now until the hard drive market returns to where it was, and wait until then to add the two additional drives. I don't plan on running RAID now, but may want to run RAID 5 in the future when drives prices become reasonable again.
Here's a basic system I was considering, with parts all from NewEgg:
You need a separate card for the HDD's the ide connection is available only in very few motherboards these days.
Other than that you seem to have everything.
As for the pre built. It all depends on what you value, performance would be about the same I think.
And you can shave off a few bucks from your current one by using i7 2600k and overclocking it if needed.
Also don't know if you need all the features win7 ultimate has vs professional or Home Premium.
Check them out since you can easily save $100 if you don't need it all.
A motherboard with PCIe Gen3 support might be good so that you can upgrade graphics card later on.
I'll see if I can find a cheap IDE card, and a motherboard such as you suggest, with PCIe Gen3 support, sounds like a great idea for an extra $40 or $50. I don't know if my new rig will last ten years like my current system, but I am looking for longevity.
I don't mind paying a bit extra for the i7 2700, and I want Windows 7 Ultimate for some of its virtual XP process features.
Considering your longevity with machines, and the slant towards production I think you should at least consider Sandy Bridge-E. The programs you're running were designed with parallel processing in mind and going from 8 cores (4/4HT) to 12 (6/6HT) will pay dividends.
The entire article I linked is a great read and it's shown that you can get started with X79 at reasonable (relative to what you're currently considering) prices.