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Best Setup for Business - Reliability

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September 16, 2012 7:08:44 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: (e.g.: this week (the closer the better))

Budget Range: $1,000 - $1,200

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Business - Excel analytics and forecasting, MS Office, Video posting (you tube), Dreamweaver for website creation, surfing the Internet, watching TV/Movies

Parts Not Required:
Power Supply will be re-used: Thermaltake toughpower W0103RU 600W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Certified 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

2 Widescreen monitors: Samsung SyncMaster B2330

Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers will be re-used

Case: Antec Performance One P180B - ATX Mid Tower computer case

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, but I'd be willing to consider another site, like Asrock: http://www.asrock.com/index.asp

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I've done AMD and Intel builds. I'm not partial to one or the other.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: ? Out of the game too long. Don't even know what that is

Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 800 - guess I'm getting older

Additional Comments: I've had the case fans replaced in the last year. All are in good condition and quiet. Really just need to upgrade the guts: motherboard, cpu, memory, hard drive(s). I have a 1 TB external drive I use for backups. Oh, and I had to move the optical drive to outside the case. The original spot for the RAID array was too hot (at the bottom of the case), so I moved them to removable bays at the top of the case, but that left no room for the optical drive. It's kind of trailer-park system at this point.

I guess I might need a new video card to go with the new mb. I don't know. I'm also wanting to upgrade to Windows 7 and MS Office 2010.

Finally, I was using Ghost for awhile, but I ran out of space quickly. So now it's just a straight copy to the external drive. I need options for how to best keep the system survivable.
September 17, 2012 12:54:48 AM

Unless I'm missing something, you really don't need to spend anywhere near $1000 on a machine that will be more than fast enough for your needs

You don't need a discrete video card unless you plan on gaming, your usage cases say that a fast dual core will be more than fast enough (core i3-2100), and 4GB ram will do you plenty

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hGbd $439.60

I put a 256GB intel SSD in there, intel is widely accepted as one of the most reliable SSD manufacturers. You'll have to clarify what you need exactly with the storage setup.. you said that you currently have a raid setup, what do you need that for if I might ask?

Other than the storage situation, there's one other area where this build might need to be altered. How big are the excel spreadsheets that you use? if you're dealing with spreadsheets in the thousands of rows/columns area, 8GB ram might be better suited to you.

EDIT: put in wrong link
September 17, 2012 2:12:49 AM

notresto said:
Unless I'm missing something, you really don't need to spend anywhere near $1000 on a machine that will be more than fast enough for your needs

You don't need a discrete video card unless you plan on gaming, your usage cases say that a fast dual core will be more than fast enough (core i3-2100), and 4GB ram will do you plenty

http://pcpartpicker.com/p/hGbd $439.60

I put a 256GB intel SSD in there, intel is widely accepted as one of the most reliable SSD manufacturers. You'll have to clarify what you need exactly with the storage setup.. you said that you currently have a raid setup, what do you need that for if I might ask?

Other than the storage situation, there's one other area where this build might need to be altered. How big are the excel spreadsheets that you use? if you're dealing with spreadsheets in the thousands of rows/columns area, 8GB ram might be better suited to you.

EDIT: put in wrong link


Thanks so much! I used RAID because my backup solutions weren't always the best. I knew if I implemented RAID, I'd always have the data at hand. I need to move to a cloud or other backup solution with the next build.

Excel: Not in the thousands of rows yet, but I will be moving to Monte Carlo analysis and advanced linear programing for capacity planning. Those simulations can go into the thousands of rows and columns depending on the modeling algorithms.

It's good news I don't need to spend nearly the money that I first thought. Should I just re-use the video card? I also have an ATI TV Tuner card that I use for importing video to various computer formats. It has RCA and S-video inputs that I used for the camcorder tapes. I used to do VHS imports with it to burn them to CD.
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September 17, 2012 2:58:47 AM

chris338cd said:
Should I just re-use the video card?



Maybe i missed it but I don't think you mentioned what GPU you have in your current system. That info would help us answer your question better. You may not really need a good video card but if you're planning on doing video editing or anything else graphic intensive a GPU upgrade might be nice (nothing wrong with a sub $100 card), especially if you have the money. That also keeps your options open if you want to utilize multiple monitors sometime in the future. I'd recommend the Radeon 6670 (~$60) for a budget option or the radeon 7750 (~$100) if you want to spend a bit more.

As for storage, I heartily second the SSD suggestion and I think keeping the RAID setup might be a good idea.
September 17, 2012 3:13:45 AM

RAID's an awful lot unless you must have a real-time mirror. Windows can schedule system image backups to an external or network drive (many of the new "MyCloud" type out of the NAS systems can just connect right to your network out of the box) - you don't need to keep EVERY image (you said Ghost was filling drives), just the most recent 1 or 2.

Or you can go with Carbonite...
September 17, 2012 11:42:51 AM

Good thoughts and thanks to all. Here is the current video card:

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS

I do run dual monitors right now. Don't know that I could ever go back to just one!

The video card technology has to be about 6 years old. Surely an upgrade is in order.

Thanks again for the advice!!
September 17, 2012 2:27:56 PM

just change to a newer h77 mobo or z77 whichever you can find which is cheaper from asrock, intel i3 3220 ivy bridge 2 core cpu, 4gb/8gb whichever you feel like it for memory. couple of 1 tb or 2 tb hard disk drive, a 256gb ssd from intel or crucial or samsung, and your off to go

Best solution

September 17, 2012 3:24:05 PM
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chris338cd said:
Good thoughts and thanks to all. Here is the current video card:

NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS

I do run dual monitors right now. Don't know that I could ever go back to just one!

The video card technology has to be about 6 years old. Surely an upgrade is in order.

Thanks again for the advice!!


I didn't notice that you use a dual monitor setup, my bad. The integrated graphics on the i3 does support dual monitors, but I've found that integrated GPUs are sometimes funny running dual monitor setups. Your 8800 GTS is more than fast enough for what you need, however newer video cards will use much less power and will be more quiet. If that's something that is important to you, I would go with a 6570 passively cooled.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Has no fan (completely silent) and is capable of running dual monitors.

Now for your RAID array... Ghost images are probably the easiest and cheapest way to go, just keep the most recent one or two images. An SSD can handle being backed up even while in use, so it might even be a good idea to get a second external drive that has software doing hourly backups of your important files. If you wanna get really safe, do a cloud backup once a week which will protect you against fires or what have you which destroy your system and it's backup. If that isn't enough protection, then god help us all lol

If you really must have a raid setup, go with a simple RAID 1 (RAID 5/6 is designed for arrays with a lot of disks) and make sure your drives support RAID. For example, get two http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Like I said, gost images are cheaper lol
September 18, 2012 1:57:24 PM

Best answer selected by chris338cd.
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