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First build: Music Production and Computer Programming Desktop

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Anonymous
January 17, 2012 11:59:50 AM

Final proposed build towards bottom of thread. Would appreciate comments on compatibility. Thanks in advance!

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This will be my first homebuild and I would very much appreciate any advice I can get. I am also very new to the hardware side of computers so apologies for any incorrect assumptions below.

Approximate Purchase Date: End of Jan/Early Feb

Budget Range: US$1500-2000 before rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Basic music production (with potential to upgrade), computer programming, non graphic-intensive gaming

Parts Not Required: N/A

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I live in Hong Kong and will most likely purchase the individual items locally but I have used Newegg as a reference point and used their prices in the list below. There are specialty computer malls here so I don't think it will be too difficult to find any of the items I've listed.

Country: Hong Kong

Parts Preferences: No particular preference. Don't mind paying a little extra if one brand is significantly better than a counterpart

Overclocking: Only vaguely aware of potential of overclocking. Open-minded but not necessary

SLI or Crossfire: I believe this has to do with having multiple video cards? If so, unlikely to need this. I just need the capability to add another monitor in the future

Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Additional Comments: I'll be using Windows 7 (that also needs to be included in the budget). As music production will be the main purpose, a quiet computer is necessary. I'm also assuming that computer programming will be second to music production in terms of system requirements, so please correct me if I am wrong and suggest additional hardware I may need

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Proposed build (all prices from Newegg)

Motherboard
ASUS P8H67-V (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS ($105)

CPU
Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I72600 ($300)

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-16GBXL ($125)

Power Supply
Thermaltake TR2 Series TR-500P 500W V2.3 & EPS 12V 2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply ($80)

Video Card
SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity ($150)

Hard Drives
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5” 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) ($189)

Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5” Internal Hard Drive – Bare Drive ($135)

Optical Drive
ASUS 24x DVD Burner – Bulk 24x DVD+R 8x DVD+RW 12x DVD+R DL 24x DVD-R 6x DVD-RW 16x DVD-ROM 48x CD-R 32x CD-RW 48x CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS – OEM ($20)

Monitor
ASUS VH242H Black 23.6” 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) w/Speakers ($180)

Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit – OEM ($100)

Case
Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case ($120)

Sound Card/Audio Interface
At the moment undecided whether I want an internal PCI sound card or an external USB/Firewire audio interface. Leaning towards an inexpensive external interface to begin with, but if anyone has any personal experience with both types I could use a bit of guidance on this one.

Running total (not including sound card/interface) = US$1504

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Are any of the parts I've chosen a little too extravagant for what I want this computer to do? I'd like to keep the cost closer to $1500 if possible, but I don't necessarily want to give up too much in performance by cutting corners.

So I guess that's it. Looking forward to hearing back from the community!

Thanks again!

More about : build music production computer programming desktop

January 17, 2012 12:34:51 PM

Silent cases :
Antec Sonata Elite Black 90$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER Silencio 450 70$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This Recommended by Silent PC Review : Antec P280 Black 140$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fractal Design Define R3 Titanium Grey 110$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl 120$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fractal Design Define XL Black Pearl full tower 150$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Your build is great. For cpu cooling the silence and performance is named Noctua :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Don't buy 4x4 GB RAM , buy 2x8GB to allow you a future upgrade if you need : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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Anonymous
January 17, 2012 1:45:58 PM

sosofm said:
Silent cases :
Antec Sonata Elite Black 90$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
COOLER MASTER Silencio 450 70$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
This Recommended by Silent PC Review : Antec P280 Black 140$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fractal Design Define R3 Titanium Grey 110$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl 120$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Fractal Design Define XL Black Pearl full tower 150$
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Your build is great. For cpu cooling the silence and performance is named Noctua :
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Don't buy 4x4 GB RAM , buy 2x8GB to allow you a future upgrade if you need : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


@sosofm

Thanks very much for the great suggestions! Really liking the Fractal R3 Black Pearl and will be adding it to my initial post!

I wanted to ask though... If I were to get one of the Noctua CPU coolers you suggested, would it fit in the Fractal case? And would you recommend getting extra fans on top of the two that were included, or is this just overkill?
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January 17, 2012 2:05:36 PM

that case is 8.17" wide and both of those coolers should fit in it without any problem.
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January 17, 2012 2:11:59 PM

More fans mean more noise. Since you aren't going to be overclocking or running multiple powerful video cards, I don't think you'll need all those fans. A gentle FLOW of air through the case is all you'll need, typically low front to high back.
For non-graphically intense games (e.g. casual games like online Flash-based, Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, etc.) you could easily get by with a HD6570 or similar less expensive video card. That's not a huge part of your budget though...
Also, a quality 430W-500W PSU would be sufficient.
Will your audio programs benefit from the i7, or would the less expensive i5-2500 be sufficient? Getting the non-K version removes overclocking potential and wouldn't save much, but little things like that add up.
Does the Z68 chipset offer anything you think you'll use, over the less expensive H67?
Not overclocking (or only mildly), you won't need a $75 CPU cooler; the stock Intel cooler may be sufficient, and is pretty quiet. Otherwise, most any 120mm tower cooler will be very quiet and also effective. A Xigmatek Gaia for example is around $30.
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Anonymous
January 17, 2012 3:59:35 PM

@hellfire24

Thanks for the tip! Looks like a piece of info I could've found myself if I had known what to look for. I'm slowly learning as I go :) 

Onus said:
More fans mean more noise. Since you aren't going to be overclocking or running multiple powerful video cards, I don't think you'll need all those fans. A gentle FLOW of air through the case is all you'll need, typically low front to high back.
For non-graphically intense games (e.g. casual games like online Flash-based, Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled, etc.) you could easily get by with a HD6570 or similar less expensive video card. That's not a huge part of your budget though...
Also, a quality 430W-500W PSU would be sufficient.
Will your audio programs benefit from the i7, or would the less expensive i5-2500 be sufficient? Getting the non-K version removes overclocking potential and wouldn't save much, but little things like that add up.
Does the Z68 chipset offer anything you think you'll use, over the less expensive H67?
Not overclocking (or only mildly), you won't need a $75 CPU cooler; the stock Intel cooler may be sufficient, and is pretty quiet. Otherwise, most any 120mm tower cooler will be very quiet and also effective. A Xigmatek Gaia for example is around $30.


@jtt283

Thanks for all of the great advice!

To be honest, a very simple and inexpensive build would be perfectly suitable to start off with. However, I plan to push the machine harder as time goes on, especially on the music production side. In that sense, the benefits of having the i7 will be obvious in the coming year or two. I do agree that overclocking won't be necessary for what I plan to use this build for. The i7-2600k is most definitely out of my league and I wouldn't even know where to begin to make the most of it.

Regarding my GPU needs, I suppose I should have been more clear with my words. I may play some graphic-intensive that come out (ie. Diablo III, any upcoming GTA releases), but I am not too fussed about playing with maximum settings. I will also be doing some basic photo editing and would like to have a video card that will be good for watching DVDs and possibly Blu-Ray if I decide to add a BD-ROM somewhere down the line. Would the 6570 be ample for this?

The motherboard choice is probably the most difficult for me from a technical standpoint. The 3 things that stood out the most in the Z68 were the number of USB 2.0 ports, memory standard, and the GIGABYTE touch bios, which I thought would make setting up the system for a first time builder that much easier. The H67also doesn't support the DDR3 1600 RAM I chose in my build (or does it?). Aside from the H67, do you have any other recommendations?

Finally, I'm taking the Noctua CPU cooler out of my build. If I find I need the extra cooling, I'll just add extra fans later on. I've also changed the power supply to the Thermaltake TR-500P 500W. Thanks again for the tips!
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January 17, 2012 4:30:40 PM

Any HD6-series GPU can accelerate Blu-ray, but if you're going to play games like DiabloIII, you'll probably want something stronger than the HD6570. The HD6850 you first listed should do well, or a HD6770. Blizzard games tend to favor nVidia, but they also tend to be written for the largest possible audience, so either of those should be decent.
As to USB ports, it seems unlikely to me you'd need more than half a dozen, but if you do need more the mobo will have headers on it that you can use with card-slot brackets like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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Anonymous
January 18, 2012 12:11:22 AM

Onus said:
Any HD6-series GPU can accelerate Blu-ray, but if you're going to play games like DiabloIII, you'll probably want something stronger than the HD6570. The HD6850 you first listed should do well, or a HD6770. Blizzard games tend to favor nVidia, but they also tend to be written for the largest possible audience, so either of those should be decent.
As to USB ports, it seems unlikely to me you'd need more than half a dozen, but if you do need more the mobo will have headers on it that you can use with card-slot brackets like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I'm going to take your advice and switch my mobo to this one.

ASUS P8H67-V (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS ($105)

I'm also considering taking the advice of sosofm to change the memory from 4x4GB to 2x8GB. The extra memory slots will be especially useful going forward. The price does seem a bit steep at the moment, though I guess my savings on the H67 will balance things out in the end.

CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M2A1600C10 ($160)

One question on compatibility. The memory standard of the H67 is 1333/1066, but the 2x8GB CORSAIR Vengeance sticks run at 1600MHz. Am I overpaying for memory sticks I won't be able to take full advantage of? Are there better memory options for the H67 out there?

As for the GPU, I'm sticking with the 6850. The price difference between the 6850 and the 6770 isn't too great so happy to pay a little extra for a better piece of equipment.
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January 18, 2012 12:31:49 AM

I originally bought some of that Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 for my rig. It's on the QVL list for my Asus Sabertooth 990FX mobo, but I could not get it to run at DDR3-1600; it ran at -1333 only. I replaced it with some low-voltage G.Skill DDR3-1600, and it was recognized and set to 1600 without issue.
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Anonymous
January 18, 2012 12:49:00 AM

I've looked into G.Skill equipment and settled on one of their 2x8GB products. Thanks!
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Anonymous
January 18, 2012 2:10:26 AM

Having gone through the revised and then re-revised build, I've decided to go back to the original Z68 mobo (need a firewire port for audio interface, Doh!). I've also gone for the better performance G.Skill DDR-1600. Comments on compatibility would be much appreciated!

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Proposed build (all prices from Newegg)

Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard ($155)

CPU
Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I72600 ($300)

Memory
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL10D-16GBXL ($150)

Power Supply
Thermaltake TR2 Series TR-500P 500W V2.3 & EPS 12V 2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply ($80)

Video Card
SAPPHIRE 100315L Radeon HD 6850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity ($150)

Hard Drives
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5” 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) ($189)

Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5” Internal Hard Drive – Bare Drive ($135)

Optical Drive
ASUS 24x DVD Burner – Bulk 24x DVD+R 8x DVD+RW 12x DVD+R DL 24x DVD-R 6x DVD-RW 16x DVD-ROM 48x CD-R 32x CD-RW 48x CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS – OEM ($20)

Monitor
ASUS VH242H Black 23.6” 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) w/Speakers ($180)

Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit – OEM ($100)

Case
Fractal Design Define R3 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case ($120)

Running total (not including sound card/interface) = US$1579

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Massive thanks to jtt283 for helping me get this build as close to $1500 as possible! The price doesn't include the audio interface, I know, but I've got a solid $400+ to get a high quality product that will serve me well for years to come!
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Anonymous
January 26, 2012 2:28:21 AM

Best answer selected by trickzta312.
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January 26, 2012 9:11:39 AM

Thanks. Make sure the PSU you get is from the NEW TR2 series, not the old one. The older ones were not 80+ certified, and were overrated.
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January 26, 2012 11:42:48 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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