Hi, I want to build a PC for my home office work. I need a new build because my current desktop PC, which I built about six years ago, went belly-up (motherboard failure, from what I’ve been able to gather), and I want to move to Win7 anyway (have it on my work laptop and really like it), and I figure that Win7 is never going to run acceptably on six-year-old hardware.
Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP, want to build it next week
Budget Range: 500-1,000 before rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important:
It’s really an office PC. I’m really not a gamer or serious number-cruncher, so high-powered graphics or mega computing power isn’t really necessary. I just think it's cooler to build than to buy a stock Dell.
Want to run Win7, thinking about 64 bit in order to be able to use more RAM.
MS Office applications: a lot of Word, some Excel. Often have 8-10 Word files open at once; performance stability with a lot of windows open is very important to me.
Dual monitor: Use a two-monitor setup. Currently, run one monitor using VGA and one using HDMI because that allows two monitors from my work laptop docking station.
Use two KVM switches (one VGA, one HDMI) to switch between my home desktop and a docking station for my work laptop (Dell E6410).
Managing my Zen MP3 player
Picasa for digital photos
Standard system utils like Norton Antivirus, Backup, etc.
Parts Not Required:
LCD monitors (Acer P191W, Dell 1905FP) ,
keyboard, mouse (Logitech Wireless Wave Combo MK550), **Include Power Supply Make & Model If Re-using**
In trying to debug my motherboard problem with my old desktop, I very recently bought an Antec Earthwatts 380W power supply V2.3. Could I reuse this in either the AMD or Intel build? I ask because they are recommending either a 430W or 400W power supply, respectively.
Have an Antec Sonata case (the original, about six years old). Could re-use that unless it’s a bad idea.
I have a Plextor 712SA optical drive I could re-use, but with the low cost of optical drives these days, re-use is not a priority.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Usually newegg.com, open to suggestion
Parts Preferences: Tower case for ease of build
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: Generally, 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Might upgrade to larger monitors in the future (22” or 24”).
Additional Comments as to what’s important to me:
I’d like to build and have it last for a while (as I said, my previous build went six years), so absolute cost minimization isn’t my highest priority.
Stability in general: Don’t want things to crash. I power down my desktop when I’m not using it, so I don’t get a lot of crashes anyway, but stability is important.
Faster boot time. Since I do power down often, a quick boot would be desirable.
I really like quiet. When reading Proximon’s “A Guide to Choosing Computer Parts”, I was reminded that water cooling is quieter, and thought, “Hmmm, maybe that would be work the extra effort.”
Other specific questions:
Will getting a solid state hard drive to act as my system drive speed up boot time significantly? It seems whenever I start my current system, it boots somewhat slowly, and then the hard drive thrashes for 3-4 minutes (perhaps it Norton or Windows update downloads or whatever else XP does to wake up) and the system is somewhat sluggish until that’s all done.
Any strong opinions on AMD vs. Intel? Six years ago, I built my PC using the book Building the Perfect PC by Robert Bruce Thompson. (maybe 1st edition or something like that), and he recommended Intel motherboards for stability/not having problems reasons. Is that out of date? Competition always tends to raise the bar.
Was thinking about putting a second 1TB drive to either mirror the main drive or to use as a backup drive. Thoughts/opinions? Can’t seem to find much on Tom’s Hardware about backup recommendations.
Intel is still generally believed to be better in the performance and efficiency aspect, but is more expensive. So generally this is the difference between AMD and intel:
intel is for builds that are higher priced
AMD is for budget builds
Since You don't need a powerful gfx card, we can add a powerful CPU, meaning we'll be using the 4 core Intel core i5 2500k.
I chose to go with this setup because of the intel CPU and the AMD gfx card. Some people might find it weird that I'm doing this but I have a reason. AMD, even at the beginner end gfx cards allow for eye-finity, meaning you can have up to 3 monitors hooked up at the same time. Nvidia can't do that. I chose the ASRock motherboard because it allows for overclocking and is decently priced. With this build, I recommend you overclock the CPU, if you don't want to overclock, then use the build below. The PSU is more than enough for the components. A 1TB harddrive for storage and a 120GB SSD for Win 7 and any programs that you use A LOT. 8GB of RAM should allow you to run any programs without problem. The HSF is for overclocking and once again, I recommend you overclock with this set-up. DVD-ROM is self-explanatory.
I changed the CPU and motherboard and obviously removed the HSF. The i5 2400 is almost as good as the 2500k but without the ability to overclock and has a lower clock frequency. The motherboard is cheaper because it is a H-series chipset, which doesn't allow for any overclocking.
r0aringdrag0n, thank you for the very detailed response. It took me a little while to process your suggestions, but when I realized that you were the author of the current recommended Intel Office PC build (congrats on that), it made sense to me that you were cranking things up a bit because I had a higher budget.
What I decided to do was order the parts for your overclocking build. I'm not yet comfortable with overclocking, but I figure that if I build the box "straight", I can always experiment with overclocking in the future.
One question on quiet: Is the CM Hyper 212 quieter or noisier than the stock CPU cooler?
TBH I don't know if the Hyper 212+ is quieter or louder than the stock, I'm assuming it's quieter but I'm not sure. However the noise levels for the CM hyper 212+ is 13 - 32 dBA (NewEgg.com), which isn't too loud.