I've been lurking in the shadows of these forums for the past few months and I have finally selected all of the components for my first build. I've got to be honest.. I am a bit nervous as it is my first time building a PC rig myself. It's been a very enjoyable experience to be able to learn about the technical details of how these components fit together.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Dual monitor 1920x1080 support for multitasking (fast web browsing, watching HD movies, word processing/powerpoint/excel, etc.). Possible use of CAD or fluid dynamics program applications (engineering related). Possible gaming (never been much of a PC gamer, but with a proper rig I may check out a game here and there, but likely not often).
Are you buying a monitor: Yes, the Asus VH242H 23.6" monitor (x2)
Do you need to buy OS: Yes, Windows 7 64 bit is what I plan to purchase
Overclocking: Maybe in the future, not immediately
SLI or Crossfire: Not sure what this is, so no at the moment
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (dual monitor, possibly 3 in the future)
Additional Comments: I've been a long time Apple user, and currently do not own any Windows PCs. I am building a new system in order to have Windows 7 with Microsoft Office, and a nice multi-monitor setup so I can do school work (engineering). Keep in mind I have nothing, so I have to buy everything . I want to keep it as budget-friendly as possible, but I have to do a lot of reconsidering because I am a bit of an elitist when it comes to purchasing things (mentally always looking for the best of the best in a certain class - mainly based off of reviews). It is most important to me that I have support to run two (possibly three) Asus VH242H monitors for multitasking purposes (I don't need to do Eyefinity or anything, just working on things or surfing the web).
Antivirus - Norton Internet Security 2013 - $19.99
Microsoft Office - Home & Business - $189.98
OS - Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit - $91.99
(Prices reflect what is currently sitting in my cart on Amazon.com and Newegg.com)
So far, this rig entirely is going to be fairly expensive when you factor in shipping (I think ~$1900). That is a bit beyond my budget, and I want to see if you experts can give me any advice on where I could save money. I think the room for saving money would be in the graphics card/mobo/CPU, seeing as though I'm not really sure what I need. Remember, my main usage for this system is dual (possibly triple) 1920x1080 monitor support for multitasking (word processing, watching videos, possibly using engineering applications). Gaming is not the foremost important thing to me. It's something I would do for a little bit if I could, but I would mainly be doing everyday kind of things.
Sorry this post is so long. I hope some you guys can help me make a more educated decision. All of this stuff is sitting on my amazon.com/newegg.com shopping cart right now waiting to be changed or ordered.
You could downgrade the SSD to a 120 or 128GB to save around $50 and get a cheaper, but still solid case like the HAF 912 to save another $50.
I'm not sure that the 660ti is going to be able to handle triple monitor, though two shouldn't be much trouble. If you want to do triple monitor, Radeons seem to perform better from what I read.
You could also save another $100 or so by getting a regular mouse and keyboard and mouse from any computer store for less than $50 for the pair instead of over $140.
Finally, if you know anyone who is a student and has a .edu email address, you can get student pricing on MS Office 2010 which should save you a bit of money as well. With your other software, I would say don't buy Norton and just get AVG free online. Then watch your local Fry's, Office Depot, and Staples for FAR (free after rebate) software. They *frequently* run FAR promotions on Norton 360 and other anti-virus programs, including Malwarebytes Pro which is a great program.
I have a hard time criticizing a case choice mainly because unless its a terrible case its normally a personal taste choice. Something that you will buy and buy knowing it will outlast most of your components and you'll end up looking at all the time.
In terms of the SSD I feel you can get a stronger SSD then the 330 for example they had the SAMSUNG 830 256 at 189 its on auto notify on newegg but theres one. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or you could get a 120/128 gigabyte SSD. The 330 is more of Intel's budget line its not there performance SSD's like the 520's.
In terms of the keyboard I feel you are paying a lot for what you are getting. A keyboard that you may want to take a gander at the Logitech K310 $34 dollars. It has raised keys has kind of a mac look to it with raised keys. It's also washable so you can put it in your sink and wash it it comes with a brush so you can brush things out. I don't know just a thought I know pc gamers like to eat at there desks I certainly do nothing wrong with not getting sick. (keyboards have more germs then a toilet seat fact).
Everything else I could break down would be like splitting hairs sure you could go with a 7870 but again you won't feel much of a difference there.
Ripjaws have a large heatsink so if you were to get a large cpu air cooler you would run into issues 99% of the time.
Now here is my personal opinion with the monitor I'm sure its a great monitor but for me I don't like how this would look in a multi monitor setup. I feel spending the extra 30 dollars to get a IPS panel would be great and ASUS a monitor that doesn't get talked about much the PB238Q there was a review done by oc3D.net last week I think it was on the 27 inch and its a great monitor. BUT anyway the monitor has high adjust and you can rotate it so you could have the option of a larger display up and down in a landscape view versus the normal portrait view. Again this is all personal opinion and you may not find it enough to spend more. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For office stuff, check out open office. It's free, and compatible in most cases with word. It will at least carry you through until you can get a student copy (if you are going into school).
Microsoft Security Essentials is a fine free antivirus, I prefer it because it doesn't bog the computer down like others I've tried, or bark at you about subscriptions. I also run firefox with adblock and noScript, pretty much closes the door on most viruses you can get without doing something dumb.
As far as your GPU goes, It's probably a bit overkill if you don't plan to game at high settings (assuming being casual means you don't care if you have all the eye candy). Any card that has 3 connectors, where you have a combined 3 dvi and hdmi ports should be fine (though sometimes DVI can be sneaky since there is analog and digital versions of it), if you run into trouble adding a third, you can always go for a USB to DVI/HDMI adapter (you won't be able to game on that monitor, but it's fine for basic stuff). If you end up changing your monitors, you could have more or less flexibility; an AMD card and Display port monitors is often a sure way to go for multi-monitor.
Thank you all for your input. It was all very helpful in my decision.
The changes I ended up making were:
-Storage: WD Velociraptor 300 GB HDD - $70
-Monitor: Asus VS247H LED x2 - $358 (slimmer profile, not too much more $$)
-Keyboard/Mouse: Microsoft 800 Keyboard Mouse Combo - $22
X Microsoft Office (will get student edition for $15)
X Antivirus (will use AVG free)
Total ended up being roughly $1500 including shipping. I'm excited.. now I just hope everything arrives intact and I don't have any issues! Again, thanks for the help guys.