I am looking to build a new desktop PC soon and would like to order parts within the week.
When: ordering parts in a week
Budget: $500-600. I am flexible but would rather keep it under 700.
What do I run: Photoshop CS5. I also tend to keep a dozen or more internet tabs open.
Monitor: 1920x1200 dual with a 1440x900
Gaming: I've been using a Thinkpad laptop for the last few years, so my gaming expectations are not great, but I ideally like to run Diablo 3 at 1920x1200 with good settings when that comes out. I'd also like to play Civ V and minecraft.
Noise: I would also like the whole rig to be fairly quiet if possible
Overclocking: I have done this with PC's in the past, but my major concern is keeping my PC from making too much noise and overheating.
My general thoughts on components are:
Processor: Intel i5 2400 ~$190 Amazon
Mobo: ASRock H61 ~$69. NewEgg
Memory: $4GB, possibly 8GB and whatever DDR3 ram is cheap ~$40 for 8GB
Case: Antec Sonata III with 500W powersouce ~$90 (eBay)
Grfx: ATI Radeon 6790 ~$120 Newegg
Harddrive: I have an old one, but will look to get a new one later as supposedly prices are up now. I will probably eventually upgrade to a smaller SSD and a higher capacity 7200RPM.
Stock optical drive ~$20
Memory card reader: ~$20
0. Are any components really unbalanced? i.e. do I have a bottleneck I am not aware of, or am I getting too much processing power and too little graphics?
1. Will this PC be fairly quiet at near-idle, low-load settings? Most white noise doesn't bother me, but this will likely stay in my bedroom, playing music at night.
2. Antec Sonata III 500W. Any overheating issues with quad-core processor? And I have heard this case is excellent at sound-dampening, does anyone have experience with this? Will I need aftermarket cooling?
3. Processor: is the i5 2400 too much or not enough to future-proof me for my needs?
4. Graphics card: If I can play current games (Diablo III) at 1920x1200 with reasonable grfx settings now I will be happy. I don't need ultra settings, and if I can play future games at lower settings I'll be content. Ideally I'd like a card that is fairly quiet at low-load, but I would not mind noise while gaming.
5. Do I need 8GB of RAM, or should I just get 4GB for now? Would it be best to get 4x2GB or 2x4GB memory sticks?
6. Motherboard: Is the H61 a good choice if I don't plan on overclocking? What is the differences between the ATX and microATX H61 motherboards?
0. No not really, though the Graphics is slightly weaker.
1. Should be, doesn't seem as though it'll be loud. If you're listening to music you shouldn't hear anything too loud.
2. No issues should come. Sound I haven't really tried any of the sound dampening cases.
3. It's fine, good enough to last an average user a long time. My 955 has lasted me 2 years (and counting so...)
4. I would suggest going to the 6870 like I have suggested in my $600 build.
5. You should just get it now so you can have it. Might I suggest this kit, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2x4gb is better, dual channel and leaves you option to add 2 more. 4x2GB is quad channel which AMD doesn't support.
6. The H61 is solid, it's the bare bones to what you need. ATX is a larger form factor and generally is easier to fit 2 cards and larger cards. Generally if you plan to SLI/CF you go with ATX