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Developer, ham radio build, dual monitor

Last response: in Systems
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November 27, 2012 1:50:35 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: This week or next. Not urgent.

Budget Range: $600US Before rebates and shipping

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Internet, Gimp, Software Defined Radio (Winrad, Rocky), Open Office, internet gaming (League of Legends)

Are you buying a monitor: No

Parts to Upgrade: New build

Do you need to buy OS: Yes. Windows 7.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Location: Albany NY USA

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: None.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1280x1024 - dual monitor

Additional Comments: I use some compute-intensive software for software defined radio. This is roughly akin to indexing a 250,000 row tabe in MySQL in terms of workload. I will probably be getting a high-end USB sound card to use for that application as well, but I haven't researched that yet. That's why I want at least one USB 3.0 port. An LPT port (even on a header) will be very handy for some older ham radio software, as will a COM port but if I can't have them, I'll find another way.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Current machine (Athlon XP 2400+) is so slow it won't let the 10 year-old play Fishville without Flash dying.

I used to be comfortable with PC parts but the plethora of CPUS, mobos and video cards is making my head spin. I'm reasonably sure that ANY current CPU is going to a huge improvement over what I have now but why build a new machine with bottom of the barrel parts? About the only thing I really, really want is dual monitors and USB 3.0 on the front of the case. Everything else is pretty much negotiable. I have monitors, keyboard and mouse.

Thank you for your time!

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i3-2130 3.4GHz Dual-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock H77M Micro ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($24.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Sapphire Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($131.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case ($62.98 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Rosewill Green 630W 80 PLUS Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)
Total: $582.89
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-26 22:46 EST-0500)

Best solution

November 27, 2012 2:33:40 AM

Here's my 2 cents;

I am not a huge fan of Rosewill for anything that has electricity running through it. Also, I would get a higher quality PSU in the 450-500W range for this particular build. 600W is enough for doing entry level SLi/xFire, which is simply not supported by your motherboard, so this system would never need to pull anywhere near that much power. Look for something like Seasonic, Antec, or Corsair power supply. And even some OCZ power supplies are pretty good (very happy with mine), just be sure to read reviews before purchasing. Anywho, I would generally avoid power supplies made by anyone else.

If the heaviest thing you are playing is fishville then ditch the GPU and get the i3 with HD4000 graphics (i3 3225). I got it for my wife and she is happy with the flash performance it puts out for all of her little games (besides, flash is mostly CPU anyways). Microcenter carries it for $120, while Newegg carries it for $5 more than the CPU you picked out. Spend $5 to save $132 sounds like a good deal to me. If you find that the onboard GPU is not able to do what you want then you can always add the GPU later. Worst case scenario you are out $5 more than you expected, while ending up with a slightly faster and more power efficient CPU.

For duel monitor you will be able to run it with onboard video just fine via the DVI and HDMI outputs. Just keep in mind that Intel DVI is digital only, and requires you to not have the 4 pins around the long post. It is annoying, but most monitors have the 4 pins which means you will need a stupid adapter to make it fit proper.

How much HDD space do you need? You can get a pretty nice 240GB SSD for a similar amount of money. It will run silent, much faster (especially for your Ham radio applications), and generally put the bottleneck of your system on the CPU where it belongs rather than waiting for a slow HDD all the time. If you need the space then go for the HDD... but seriously plan on getting an SSD for at least your system drive in the next year or so. I have SSDs in RAID0 on my system and it is insanely fast. I have a faster single SSD in my wife's system and her total power to ready to use is under 6sec from a fresh boot. From sleep to wake it turns on faster than the monitor can.

Consider other stores. I am a huge Newegg fan, and I always go there first when considering parts as they have the best reviews and detailed product descriptions. But when it comes time to purchase I always check my local Microcenter, and other reputable online sites like NCIX to get the best sale and price. Newegg is still good... but they are simply not as good as they use to be.
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November 28, 2012 12:57:14 AM

CaedenV said:
Here's my 2 cents;

Quote:
I am not a huge fan of Rosewill for anything that has electricity running through it. Also, I would get a higher quality PSU in the 450-500W range for this particular build. 600W is enough for doing entry level SLi/xFire, which is simply not supported by your motherboard, so this system would never need to pull anywhere near that much power. Look for something like Seasonic, Antec, or Corsair power supply. And even some OCZ power supplies are pretty good (very happy with mine), just be sure to read reviews before purchasing. Anywho, I would generally avoid power supplies made by anyone else.


Exactly the sort of advice I was looking for.

Quote:
If the heaviest thing you are playing is fishville then ditch the GPU and get the i3 with HD4000 graphics (i3 3225).

For duel monitor you will be able to run it with onboard video just fine via the DVI and HDMI outputs. Just keep in mind that Intel DVI is digital only, and requires you to not have the 4 pins around the long post. It is annoying, but most monitors have the 4 pins which means you will need a stupid adapter to make it fit proper.


That's good to know, and very difficult to tease out of the mobo spec sheet. Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate it!


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November 28, 2012 9:10:29 PM

Best answer selected by kc2hiz.
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