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$1200 approx. 3+ monitor business powerhouse? Need advice!

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June 27, 2012 3:49:59 PM

Hi Experts! Would really appreciate your input into my planned new build.

I haven’t built a complete rig before but I’ve pretty much changed every component in previous machines so I’m not too intimidated by the prospect.

It’s a home office build that will be primarily used for video processing, heavy duty Excel work and day-trading. Gaming is not in scope here. The rig has to be reliable, stable and capable of running 12+ hours per day without over-heating, whilst handling multiple real-time stock charts via Tradestation. Also, ideally, allowing for a degree of future-proofing.

I’d appreciate your advice on how suitable the spec (is it over-specified? Value-for-money/fit-for purpose? Can I save some $$$ somewhere? Are the components compatible?

So …
[1] Approximate Purchase Date: As soon as possible

[2] Budget Range: Around $1200

[3] System Usage from Most to Least Important: Day trading, video processing & editing, financial & statistical analysis (Excel, MANY array formulae in each workbook),

[4] Parts Not Required: Mouse, keyboard, speakers, monitors

[5] Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon, other?

[6] Country: USA

[7] Parts Preferences: Reliability and performance most important

[8] Over clocking: Probably not so as to maintain reliability/stability

[9] SLI or Crossfire: Probably not unless there are advantages for a non-gaming build

[10] Monitor Resolution: Initially 3 x 1280 x 1024, VGA to HDMI via adaptors. Will probably upgrade another time in the future but I want to maintain the capability to use different sized/resolution screens

[11] Additional Comments: I’m not into changing the machine every eighteen months / 2 years so I’d like to maintain an upgrade path for future proofing wherever possible.
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My thoughts so far:

MB: ASRock Z68 EXTREME4 GEN3 LGA 1155 - $185


CPU: Intel Core i5-2500 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz - $210


MEM: G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $52


GPU: 2 x EVGA GeForce GTS 450 - 2 x $103 = $206


SSD: Crucial M4 2.5" 128GB - $125


CASE: Corsair Carbide 500R - $140


PSU: CORSAIR Professional Series HX850 Modular - $175


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TOTAL $1174
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June 27, 2012 4:03:23 PM

Well first, I Imagine since this is for business use, you will be going with an upgraded model of windows 7? Thats going to run you $100-$200+ Depending on how you want to get it.

Next, your going overboard on the motherboard if your not planning on overclocking, and for the price, you can pick up much better GPUs. So here is my Recommendation.

Changes:

Mobo: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 on sale from $140. Its a good pickup for only $115 and will do everything your looking for.

CPU: My input is if your not running games, and it looks like your doing alot of multitasking processing go with an FX-8150 8 Core processor. It will run what your doing alot better. it is $189.99 and look at the comparison.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

It outperforms the 2500k in most likely every aspect. You can pick up almost an identical Mobo for that CPU if you decide to go that route. You would be much happier with this purchase.

Now with those few dollars saved, and better performance, I would go with different GPUs. the 400 series especially the 450s have allllllot of problems, that you do not want to deal with.

GPU: HD-6850 on sale for $119 after rebate. It is currently the best gpu you can buy for the money. It is on the top of the charts currently and for the price, it cannot be beat. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Comparing it to the 450, it doesnt even come close.

So I hope these help you out.
June 27, 2012 4:15:21 PM

Many thanks for the quick response, exactly the sort of feedback I'm looking for. Is it the case that monitor 3 (currently on a VGA to DVI adaptor) can be connected to the HDMI port on the HD-6850 - that is VGA to HDMI? Also, I'm not up to speed on Eye Infinity. Can I use monitors with different resolutions if I wanted to?
Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
June 27, 2012 4:18:36 PM

You don't need two GPUs as the new Ivy Bridge integrated chips can run 3 monitors. You can save good money there. That mobo is also far too expensive for your use. The PSU is also unnecessarily expensive. In short, yes, it's very over-specified and not at all value-for-money/fit-for purpose.
June 27, 2012 4:29:58 PM

a 650w psu would be adequate, no more than 750
a b B Homebuilt system
June 27, 2012 4:32:50 PM

Don't got with an AMD processor. They are not better for anything.

Try this instead.

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V LE LGA1155 Motherboard ($132.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6450 1GB Video Card ($64.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 550W ATX12V Power Supply ($68.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SN-208BB DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1021.43

I went with the Ivy Bridge i7 for the 8 logical cores.

I swapped out your video cards for a low power passively cooled Sapphire 6450 that will run three monitors (Two DVI and 1 HDMI). Importantly this card is not suitable for doing anything more than displaying three screens. If any program that you use relies on the GPU for computations then you need a more powerful unit. From the two Nvidia cards that you picked I was assuming that you did not need the GPU for anything more than running the displays. Ivy Bridge chips will allow three monitors with the onboard video, but I've not seen any boards that use this feature. Further, any board that uses this feature will have to use display ports to connect monitors. Unless you have monitors that can be connected by display ports then you will need three adapters that cost $30 each. I think a single discrete card is a better choice.

The Samsung RAM I chose is well regarded for its reliability (more so than the gaming oriented RAM you chose). It is also low power. If you want 16GB of RAM just get two sets.

The Motherboard I chose is the H77 chipset. This does not allow overclocking, but since you're concerned about stability, I assumed that you were not going to overclock. ASUS is one of the most reliable and highest quality brands of boards.

The PSU I chose is 550w which is more than enough to power your system. It is also 80plus certified and modular. If you prefer Corsair then get a 550w corsair instead. If you're really concerned about efficiency (and are willing to spend a little extra money) then you can get an 80 plus platinum certifed unit for a little over $100 like this one.
June 27, 2012 4:41:21 PM

FinneousPJ said:
You don't need two GPUs as the new Ivy Bridge integrated chips can run 3 monitors. You can save good money there. That mobo is also far too expensive for your use. The PSU is also unnecessarily expensive. In short, yes, it's very over-specified and not at all value-for-money/fit-for purpose.



Agreed, you dont need the Mobo, I linked you a much better one price wise. The PSU also is WAY over board, I didnt even notice it was running close to $200! Look for a 750w PSU for a much better price. here is a very good valued PSU

Antec http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=17-371-... On sale from $130 for $95, and $90 after rebate!

I would still stick with going the FX-8150 8 core route instead of the 2500k.... youll see much better performance with what your trying to get out of a computer. And its cheaper. And, you could run 3 monitors off one gpu.. but again I would stick with 2 HD6850s for performance.
June 27, 2012 4:43:32 PM

jsrudd said:
Don't got with an AMD processor. They are not better for anything.

Try this instead.

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($319.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V LE LGA1155 Motherboard ($132.55 @ Newegg)
Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Hard Drive: Crucial M4 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 6450 1GB Video Card ($64.97 @ Newegg)
Case: Corsair 500R Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Antec 550W ATX12V Power Supply ($68.98 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Samsung SN-208BB DVD/CD Writer ($19.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $1021.43

I went with the Ivy Bridge i7 for the 8 logical cores.

I swapped out your video cards for a low power passively cooled Sapphire 6450 that will run three monitors (Two DVI and 1 HDMI). Importantly this card is not suitable for doing anything more than displaying three screens. If any program that you use relies on the GPU for computations then you need a more powerful unit. From the two Nvidia cards that you picked I was assuming that you did not need the GPU for anything more than running the displays. Ivy Bridge chips will allow three monitors with the onboard video, but I've not seen any boards that use this feature. Further, any board that uses this feature will have to use display ports to connect monitors. Unless you have monitors that can be connected by display ports then you will need three adapters that cost $30 each. I think a single discrete card is a better choice.

The Samsung RAM I chose is well regarded for its reliability (more so than the gaming oriented RAM you chose). It is also low power. If you want 16GB of RAM just get two sets.

The Motherboard I chose is the H77 chipset. This does not allow overclocking, but since you're concerned about stability, I assumed that you were not going to overclock. ASUS is one of the most reliable and highest quality brands of boards.

The PSU I chose is 550w which is more than enough to power your system. It is also 80plus certified and modular. If you prefer Corsair then get a 550w corsair instead. If you're really concerned about efficiency (and are willing to spend a little extra money) then you can get an 80 plus platinum certifed unit for a little over $100 like this one.




No offence.... but just because Intel Has better High End Market chips, no one wants to spend $320 on a processor. He was looking at a $220 i5-2500k. If your trying to argue that an FX-8150 8 Core isnt better for the multi-tasking then your most certainly wrong. and for only $150 you cant beat it.
a b B Homebuilt system
June 27, 2012 5:00:35 PM

The build jsrudd posted is cheaper than what the OP had and a lot better. I don't see any reason to dismiss it. However even a 550 W PSU is superfluous for that system, I'd look for a cheap 80+ low wattage PSU.
June 27, 2012 8:20:29 PM

Food for thought here, all good. Can someone confirm whether the Sapphire 6450 can run 3 VGA monitors simultaneously - one connected directly to the vga output; second connected to the DVI output via a VGA/DVI adaptor; and a third via a VGA/HDMI adaptor?

Also, can I use monitors with different resolutions?
June 27, 2012 8:24:14 PM

basby said:
Food for thought here, all good. Can someone confirm whether the Sapphire 6450 can run 3 VGA monitors simultaneously - one connected directly to the vga output; second connected to the DVI output via a VGA/DVI adaptor; and a third via a VGA/HDMI adaptor?

Also, can I use monitors with different resolutions?



No reason to even waste $40 on that card, it will bottleneck the cpu.
June 27, 2012 8:32:07 PM

obubdeno said:
No reason to even waste $40 on that card, it will bottleneck the cpu.


I see you have strong views on this! I dont know enough to make a judgment on the bottleneck, but if I were to go with the HD 6850, same question as above: can I connect three vga monitors to it, 2 with a DVI adaptor and a third with an HDMI adaptor?
a b B Homebuilt system
June 27, 2012 9:42:30 PM

basby said:
I see you have strong views on this! I dont know enough to make a judgment on the bottleneck, but if I were to go with the HD 6850, same question as above: can I connect three vga monitors to it, 2 with a DVI adaptor and a third with an HDMI adaptor?


The previous poster who commented that there will be a bottleneck did not read about your intended use.

A bottleneck occurs when one component of you system is not running as fast as it could because another component on which it is dependent is not fast enough. This most often occurs in games because games rely on both the GPU and the CPU to render each frame.

For (a simplified) example, if the GPU could render 60 frames per second, but the CPU could only supply enough data to render 30 frames, then the game would be rendered at 30 frames per second. Normally, we only talk about the CPU limiting the GPU and not vice-versa.

If you were playing games (or doing anything else that used the GPU) there might be a bottleneck. However, you appear to only be using the GPU to drive your displays because Excel does not use your GPU to run. For this purpose the graphics card I recommended is sufficient and there will not be a bottleneck.

Further, you will be able plug in three monitors to the card I suggested using two DIV and one HDMI cables. This is because the card is a special "Flex" variant that does not require the use of a display port for the third monitor.

All AMD graphics cards that are not "flex" cards require at least one display port in order to drive three monitors. That being said, you can purchase an active display port to DVI adapter for about $30 that will allow you attach the third monitor to the display port with a DVI cable.
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