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Advice On Building A New Multimedia Computer

Last response: in Systems
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January 31, 2012 1:35:38 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP

Budget Range: ~$500, up to $700ish if I can be convinced I should

System Usage:: 1080p mkv playback, lots of flac music ripping/playing, video ripping/encoding/transcoding (handbrake), major web usage, photo editing, AutoCAD 2012, VirtualBox

Parts Not Required: kb, mouse (might want a logitech performance or anywhere mouse), monitors, speakers, HDD, SSD, DVD drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com

Country: Ohio, USA

Parts Preferences: nVidia for the GPU

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1 (1680x1050) and 1 (1920x1080), possibility of getting a third full hd monitor (but not for a while)

Additional Comments:
Dual boot Ubuntu 11.10 or Linux Mint 12 and Win 7
Run two instances of virtual box (Win 7 and testing Linux OS)
Chrome/Firefox open with 50-100 tabs
Play simultaneous HD (1920x1080) video (one video per monitor) (not a necessity, but smooth HD/Bluray playback is a must)
Run AutoCAD 2012 in Win 7
Possibly will get BF3 (no gaming other than that) (base video card advice on Blurays, 1080p mkvs, and AutoCAD)
Use dual monitors
Quiet is good (will be in bedroom)

More Comments
I'll post my current and possible new components below. My system is about 4 years old and I'd really like more RAM. But my system can only handle 8GB. She also has some trouble playing HD video back smoothly. I'd like a minimum of 16 GB of RAM but 24 or 32 GB would be nice. I have many browser tabs open during the day and I also want to have at least one instance of virtualbox open and be able to play HD video and encode/trancode other video all at the same time. Digital Optical/Coax sound out is a must because I am hooking it up to a receiver. I will be using an 64 GB SSD in an upgrade of my old computer or use it in a new one. I probably want to get a bluray drive as well.

I've looked at an i5 and mobo, but was getting around $700 without too much of a performance increase.

I'm still wondering how much of a day to day performance increase I am going to see if I get new stuff. I really just would like more RAM, but my system can only take 8 GB. What video card can I get away with an still have good HD video and support for dual monitors? Would I be better off spending a few hundred extra for an i5 and mobo? I'd really like a new computer, but I'm hesitant to do just a "partial upgrade".

Current Config:
Power Supply Thermaltake Purepower W0100RU 500W ATX 12V 2.0

DVD Drive SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner SATA Model SH-S183L

RAM A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800
4 GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800

CPU Intel Core 2 Duo E6550 Conroe 2.33GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core

Mobo ASUS P5K SE LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX

GPU EVGA 256-P2-N554-AX GeForce 7600GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI x16 SLI

Case COOLER MASTER Elite 330 RC-330-KKN1-GP Black SECC ATX Mid Tower

HDD SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
WD 750 GB Sata 3.0
WD 1.5 TB Sata 3.0

Monitors Acer AL2051W Black/Silver 20" 8ms Widescreen LCD
Acer AL2416W 24" 6ms GTG

CPU FanARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler


Upgrade Components

Case Rosewill CHALLENGER Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower $55
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Mobo GIGABYTE GA-A75M-UD2H FM1 AMD A75 $95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GPU MSI N550GTX-Ti Cyclone OC GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU Rosewill Green Series RG630-S12 630W $60
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU AMD Athlon II X4 631 Propus 2.6GHz Socket FM1 100W Quad-Core $85
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Grand Total: $514.94

Best solution

January 31, 2012 2:04:55 AM

This would be better for the same price. IMO - based off your requirements. I would not recommend the 550TI and I have two of them. :lol: 

8GB will plenty for RAM - you only need 16GB for working with huge files, but adding memory isn't that hard - it just has to be all the same. Plus most AMD CPUs have a hard time with 1600, you need 1333.

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
PSU: Corsair Builder Series CX600V2 - $69.99
Motherboard: Asrock 970 Extreme 4 - $89.99
CPU: 3.0GHz AMD Phenom II X4 960T - $124.99
RAM: PNY Optima 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) - $39.99
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 6770 - $109.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.00

Total: $511.94

With this setup you get a far better case (IMO), a far better PSU, a faster motherboard and CPU, and a way better video card.
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January 31, 2012 2:33:21 AM

g-unit1111 said:
This would be better for the same price. IMO - based off your requirements. I would not recommend the 550TI and I have two of them. :lol: 

8GB will plenty for RAM - you only need 16GB for working with huge files, but adding memory isn't that hard - it just has to be all the same. Plus most AMD CPUs have a hard time with 1600, you need 1333.

Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
PSU: Corsair Builder Series CX600V2 - $69.99
Motherboard: Asrock 970 Extreme 4 - $89.99
CPU: 3.0GHz AMD Phenom II X4 960T - $124.99
RAM: PNY Optima 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) - $39.99
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 6770 - $109.99
Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.00

Total: $511.94

With this setup you get a far better case (IMO), a far better PSU, a faster motherboard and CPU, and a way better video card.



I took a look at that case before. I know nothing about cases so I'll take your word on it. The PSU also looks better. As for the CPU why should I downgrade to the 960T?

Passmark CPU CPU Value
AMD Athlon II X4 631 Quad-Core 4541, 53.4 $125
AMD Phenom II X4 960T 3818, 30.5 $85

Why oh why do motherboards still come with ps/2 ports? Finding a coax and optical input together is hard though. Nice find on that.

What nVidia card would you recommend? I'd like to stay with nVidia for better Linux support.

As for the RAM. 8 GB isn't going to do it for me. I'm using 5 GB right now with only a few things open. I'd like to be able to have virtualbox open all the time for win 7 and possibly have a testing linux os open too. I keep chrome's cache and temp files on a ramdisk as well.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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January 31, 2012 3:13:38 AM

Quote:
What nVidia card would you recommend? I'd like to stay with nVidia for better Linux support.


I'd recommend the 560TI or 570TI but those will cost you a bit more. If you want to stay with a 550TI I recommend EVGA over anything else.

Quote:
As for the RAM. 8 GB isn't going to do it for me. I'm using 5 GB right now with only a few things open. I'd like to be able to have virtualbox open all the time for win 7 and possibly have a testing linux os open too. I keep chrome's cache and temp files on a ramdisk as well.


RAM is so cheap right now that 16GB will be fine for what you want it to do.

Quote:
I took a look at that case before. I know nothing about cases so I'll take your word on it. The PSU also looks better. As for the CPU why should I downgrade to the 960T?

Passmark CPU CPU Value
AMD Athlon II X4 631 Quad-Core 4541, 53.4 $125
AMD Phenom II X4 960T 3818, 30.5 $85


I tend to take benchmarks like that with a grain of salt - the thing is every system is different and what the magazine or website or whatever gets, it won't be the same as what you get.
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January 31, 2012 3:30:56 AM

What am I getting by choosing a 560Ti or 570 over a 550Ti? Another poster in another forum has suggested that I just OC the CPU and slap in a new GPU. What do you think of that? Of course that wont take care of the RAM problem, but 8 gigs may be ok for now.
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February 10, 2012 1:00:34 AM

Best answer selected by Chuck Finley.
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February 10, 2012 7:46:01 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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