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Appreciate review of my ~$1200 first build before I unpack components

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August 2, 2012 10:56:24 AM

Hey guys- would really appreciate the others here with more experience (ie everyone) giving my first scratch build a final review before I unpack everything and can't spot any oversights and exchange/return anything. My primary concern now is with the choice of CPU.

Parts:
Case- Thermaltake Commander Snow
Mobo- Asus M5A97
PSU- Need to pick up an Antec/Corsair 80+ rated model with 12v >40amps
CPU- AMD Phenom X4 965 BE (considering FX-8120/6200 instead)
GPU- Asus EAH6850 DC/2DIS/1GD5/V2
SSD: 120gb Intel 520 (OS), 120gb HyperX 3k (programs and storage)
HDD: 1tb Caviar Black
RAM: 16gb Corsair Vengence Red (4x4gb) 1866mhz
Optical: Pioneer 2207B5PK BD-R 12x Writer

Approximate Purchase Date: I plan on getting started with assembling the physical components this weekend and installing the OS and other software during the evening next week.

Budget Range: Was originally $1000-$1200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Managing and editing high resolution images (16MP+ photography), managing and editing 5-10 minute video clips at full 1080p, running multiple image or document programs while streaming HD video or live audio feeds for entertainment in the background.

Are you buying a monitor: No- already have dual LED setup with 21.5" / 24" screens that I'll be using.

Do you need to buy OS: Planned on Windows 7 professional, taking advantage of their student pricing ($65)- but realized that is only an upgrade version. Would appreciate knowing if I should buy the full 7 premium version for $88 from Amazon instead.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon if possible, Newegg as a second choice

Location: Orange County, CA

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (large screen) 1280 x 720 (smaller screen)

Additional Comments: Already upgraded a Dell to it's limits and have that as my daily computer for the tasks listed above. With this build I want to shoot for more performance knowing I have a working system should I run into any bumps in the road here. (This is honestly more being built for the enjoyment of doing so and the challenge of seeing what sort of performance ceiling I can reach).
August 2, 2012 11:29:08 AM

you could have bought a i5 3570k and it would have destroyed the phenom chips man. with this price range, you could have also bought a much better graphics card

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dEQf

you could probably keep the case, the hard drive, and the intel 520 (even though a samsung 830 is cheaper and performs the same). you could also keep the optical

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August 2, 2012 11:31:05 AM

if you like amd, i can justify your purchase. otherwise you could do much better with intel
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August 2, 2012 11:55:10 AM

Appreciate the feedback and straightforward thoughts.

I honestly know the choice of AMD over Intel is a real limiting factor, but I should have noted that the motherboard was picked up for free from a project that my brother never got off the ground, and the HD 6850 was a card I had previously used for a short while in another system and now have sitting around. The Phenom is something I picked up for future use when it was on sale for something like $90 on newegg months back, knowing it's a good chip I'd eventually use.

So, the graphics card could always be changed if you guys have a suggestion that would be ~$225 or less. Alternately, I could allocate that money for a new motherboard and your recommended CPU....

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August 2, 2012 1:00:55 PM

a nice video card is the asus 7850. they sell for 250 though but performs likea gtx570
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August 2, 2012 1:06:40 PM

Should have gone with the 3570k and the Asrock z77 Extreme4.
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August 2, 2012 1:39:03 PM

ocmusicjunkie said:
Appreciate the feedback and straightforward thoughts.

I honestly know the choice of AMD over Intel is a real limiting factor, but I should have noted that the motherboard was picked up for free from a project that my brother never got off the ground, and the HD 6850 was a card I had previously used for a short while in another system and now have sitting around. The Phenom is something I picked up for future use when it was on sale for something like $90 on newegg months back, knowing it's a good chip I'd eventually use.

So, the graphics card could always be changed if you guys have a suggestion that would be ~$225 or less. Alternately, I could allocate that money for a new motherboard and your recommended CPU....


Your logic makes more sense with the existing parts - should have clarified that sooner. In that case disregard recommendations in those areas (although for the future the CPU is your weak point) Your GPU isnt fantastic either, but, if you are not gaming the 6850 will work fine. If you decide you need more power crossfire might be an option (although what you really want for video editing is a card with more onboard memory).

Why two 120 SSDs instead of a single 256? Prices are pretty comparable now to get a single larger (M4 256gb running $180, saw the Agility 4 256gb hit $169 yesterday). With the SSDs in the system im not sure the Caviar black is worth it over a Caviar blue/green - particularly given high hard drive prices right now. It is definitely worth it to get the video files you are currently working with on the SSD - will speed things up a lot.

Edit: P.S. you want a single install, OEM version of Windows. You will be able to install multiple times on the same PC, but not on any other PC. I dont think an upgrade will work for you on a new built unless you have a spare copy of vista sitting around -- and that is just a bad, cumbersome idea anyhow.
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August 2, 2012 4:30:46 PM

Yeah, I should have specified from the start. I forget that right now there is almost no debate about the current Intel line being superior to AMD; I haven't run an Intel processor since the Pentium 4 line. It's been a while since AMD was this far behind from what I can recall.

I know the CPU is my weakest point, which is why I am debating the idea of picking up a FX-8120 or 6200 right now while they are both <$150 online. However, you probably are thinking along the same lines I start to, which is that it's probably worth holding off until I see what the verdict is on their next lineup change, which I assume has to be taking place in the near future. As for the GPU... the 6850 puts me in sort of a funny spot. It's a capable card to the point where it doesn't make sense spending the money just to get something like a 560 Ti or 6950 for the little bit of difference it would make, but I don't really feel the justification is there either to jump to something like a 7870 that would be a large improvement.

As for the SSD situation, I may opt for a larger drive still. I definitely plan to store the files I work with on the SSD until they are completed and can be moved over to the HDD. Knowing the amount of read/write wear that puts on a drive though, I thought it might be a good idea to have a top-tier drive for the system files with a second, cheaper drive that still was near the top of the benchmark lists. As it happened, I was undecided on a 256gb M4 or two 120gb drives when Newegg had their HyperX drives on sale for $75 last week. If you think it would be a noticeable difference, I would consider just sticking the HyperX in my laptop and exchanging the 520 for something like the M4 256gb. I really don't know what to do with the HDD pick. I think the difference between 1tb is $20 from blue to black, and green might be a little less. I don't trust anything Seagate is producing right now; I usually don't buy into a few bad reviews, but 20% of all the reviews I read for the barracuda line being about a total disk failure scares me.



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August 2, 2012 5:57:51 PM

you do know that fx is worse than phenoms right? intel beats both

a jump from a 7850-7950 would be a good idea
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Best solution

August 2, 2012 11:02:55 PM

ocmusicjunkie said:
As for the GPU... the 6850 puts me in sort of a funny spot. It's a capable card to the point where it doesn't make sense spending the money just to get something like a 560 Ti or 6950 for the little bit of difference it would make, but I don't really feel the justification is there either to jump to something like a 7870 that would be a large improvement.


Agree completely. GPU is easy enough to swap out that you might just try it for a while, and if its not working out ebay it in 6 mo.

ocmusicjunkie said:
As for the SSD situation, I may opt for a larger drive still. I definitely plan to store the files I work with on the SSD until they are completed and can be moved over to the HDD. Knowing the amount of read/write wear that puts on a drive though, I thought it might be a good idea to have a top-tier drive for the system files with a second, cheaper drive that still was near the top of the benchmark lists. As it happened, I was undecided on a 256gb M4 or two 120gb drives when Newegg had their HyperX drives on sale for $75 last week. If you think it would be a noticeable difference, I would consider just sticking the HyperX in my laptop and exchanging the 520 for something like the M4 256gb. I really don't know what to do with the HDD pick. I think the difference between 1tb is $20 from blue to black, and green might be a little less. I don't trust anything Seagate is producing right now; I usually don't buy into a few bad reviews, but 20% of all the reviews I read for the barracuda line being about a total disk failure scares me.


Completely agree on Seagate. All the Seagate drives I have ever bought (3) have died. I have WDs from 2003 still working fine and never had one fail on me ...

Not sure what to advise on the SSDs. You seem to have a pretty good grasp of your options here. I would definitely say that reliability trumps speed though - the difference in speed between SSDs is trivial compared to the difference between a traditional hard drive and SSD. Intel has been the standard in SSD reliability, Crucial and Samsung are probably in the second tier right below that in my opinion.
If you are worried about disk wear, I see that the new Intels come with an "estimated life remaining" monitor. My two Crucial M4s have been working good - but don't have anything like that. http://www.anandtech.com/show/5817/the-intel-ssd-330-review-60gb-120gb-180gb
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August 2, 2012 11:07:16 PM

a nice SSD i recommend is the mushkin chronos deluxe 240gb. uses sandforce buts its ok since it has toggle nand (best consumer nand). the chronos deluxe sells for 179.99 usually and the prices only go down
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August 3, 2012 7:29:20 AM

deadlockedworld said:

If you are worried about disk wear, I see that the new Intels come with an "estimated life remaining" monitor. My two Crucial M4s have been working good - but don't have anything like that. http://www.anandtech.com/show/5817/the-intel-ssd-330-review-60gb-120gb-180gb


Thanks for all the input and responses- your patience for sorting through the logic of a relatively inexperienced individual has been more than kind. It certainly has given me an idea of where I would want to possibly rethink things and where I can stop second guessing decisions.

In regards to the estimated life monitor tool- it is very useful; I run a 180gb Intel 330 as the primary drive on my current system. That actually is what made me realize how quickly video editing wears down a drive. Intel's 3-year lifespan for the 330 drives is stated as being based on 20gb of writes per day. With the minimum video file I'll work with near 1gb and occasionally starting out with clips as large as 10gb, it goes without saying that 20gb isn't hard to exceed- especially when the files, programs, and OS are all sharing that drive space. I could actually kill my 330 in about 18 months I believe. That's what got me thinking I should almost have an ultra-dependable primary drive paired with a "disposable" drive (average reliability factor, but very fast and very cheap) to put through the grind for this sort of thing.

This thread has made me decide on one major change- my original logic was that while the HyperX will almost certainly be replaced a few times over during the life of the computer, the 120gb Intel 520 would probably last a decade or more with only the OS and a few programs being run from it. However, with some consideration, it makes much more sense to just pickup a 240gb 520 drive. I can keep all of my OS, program and data files together without needing to fret about filling the drive. I can still utilize the HyperX for the singular purpose of holding video files, but I won't end up needing it for general overflow from the undersized OS drive.

Tomorrow I'll probably get on this after dinner, so hopefully I can post a successful build without coming back for emergency advice first. :hello: 
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August 3, 2012 7:30:57 AM

Best answer selected by ocmusicjunkie.
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