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Mo' money, mo' problems...

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July 8, 2005 1:08:24 AM

Hello everyone,

I am looking to build a new system for about $2,000. <b>I will primarily use this system for gaming as well as intensive Photoshop work (I routinely work with multiple 150MB TIFF files at a time...)</b> Now, I do not want to go completely overkill with this system, but I want to make a good investment--so spending the full $2gs is by no means necessary...

I have put together a list of basic components, but I am at a complete loss regarding which GPU and CPU to buy. Simply put, there are too many options at each price point for me to decide.

Here's a list of components I have put together (all links to newegg.com):
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681..." target="_new">CoolerMaster Centurion 5 case</A> --$50
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681..." target="_new">Thermaltake 430W PSU</A> --$39
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682..." target="_new">Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000rpm hard drive</A>--$166
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682..." target="_new">NEC DVD Burner</A>--$40
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682..." target="_new">Sony 52x CD-ROM</A>--$16
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683..." target="_new">Windows XP Professional w/ SP-2</A>--$146
<A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683..." target="_new">Thermaltake CL-P0025 or some other badass fan--assuming I need it</A>--$47
<A HREF="http://www.razerzone.com/store/index.php?main_page=prod..." target="_new">Razer Diamondback mouse</A>--$60

<b>Base total of $564</b>

So, where do I go from here? For an additional $1300-1400, what's the best I can do for gaming, photoshop, and long-term performance?

I really appreciate your time and advice.

Cheers,
Francis.

More about : money problems

July 8, 2005 1:18:45 AM

hehehe... i love take apart ppl's plans... but for a good reason of course! =D

cpu - you would want to look into a X2, perferablely 4400

ram - since ur not over clocking much... generic pc3200 with okay latency will do, i would go with patriot

mobo - i would suggest dfi ultra-d

video card - depends on when ur buying the system, i say go with x850xt, or 7800gtx now, or r520 later

psu - you need more juice, fortron 500 watt

hard drives - since ur doing lots of photo editing, i sould suggest two of Western Digital Caviar RE s in RAID 0 (they are extremely stable, made for RAID standards)

the rest is really up to you...

<font color=red>gforce mx100/200 @ 230/440 =]</font color=red>
July 8, 2005 6:02:28 AM

Here's my $2 x 10^-2:

Get a nice Socket 939 mobo, e.g. Abit Fatal1ty AN8 or MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum Edition (Tom's recommendations).

Throw in an Athlon 64 4000+, which will run about $500.

(Dual core is still so new, the best options are yet to come. When AMD switches to their new socket, there will be a lot of downward price pressure on Athlon 64 X2s that haven't even been released today. Grab one of them at that time for a nice upgrade path.)

For a GPU there are a lot of options, and I can only comment on the NVidia side. Get a 6800 GT for $350. (You pay a huge premium for the additional performance of the 7 series, but it's your money, so maybe you want to go with that. I consider SLI a bad investment.)

Reconsider your storage. Why do you want a Raptor? Reducing load times for games? Or for your photoshop work?

Maybe you should throw in a solidly-performing SATA 7200rpm drive, say 250Gb, for the main storage, and keep your speed-critical stuff on the raptor. Or do away with the raptor all together. Use the money you save to splurge on an FX-55 cpu or something.

But for the love of god, don't use Raid 0. It's like asking someone to set fire to your most important possessions. Unless you have a comprehensive backup strategy, striped arrays don't make sense. HARD DISKS FAIL.
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July 8, 2005 10:47:05 AM

Quote:
But for the love of god, don't use Raid 0. It's like asking someone to set fire to your most important possessions. Unless you have a comprehensive backup strategy, striped arrays don't make sense. HARD DISKS FAIL.


I've been running RAID0 for 4 years and I never had a single problem. Even if you have a single drive, if it fail, you'l loose your stuff anyway, so a backup of personnal data is always necessary.

You know that overclocking can cause data corruption and ruin your DATA too. But a lot of people do it anyway...

If you never had RAID, dont advice on it, it is worthless..

<font color=red>Sig space for rent. make your offer.</font color=red>
July 8, 2005 10:59:27 AM

If you work with photoshop, the AMD X2 is a good choice. It cost more than Intel one, but it is generally faster in single threaded apps. The raptor is a faster drive, but rather weak in term of storage capacity.. I use a RAID0 array because it has speed and storage. I mainly use Seagate drives, they perform good, are reliable and backed up with a 5 years warranty.

For the motherboard, I dont know.. but stay away from MSI.. and the fatality stuff is a joke.. you pay for a name. Anandtech has a good review of motherboard. I suggest to read it and make your choice.

The stock cpu cooling will do, assuming that you have a good vented case. As for RAM, dont get expensive overclocking RAM. Get 2 gigs of RAM, Corsair value select will do good as a brand. And the x800xl, from ATI is a nice video card that will do for some years sure.

<font color=red>Sig space for rent. make your offer.</font color=red>
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
July 8, 2005 1:14:48 PM

Listen to pat and mastur...
Read the anandtech article, and you will end up getting a Epox or a DFI.

Video card, that is your choice depends on your money, good recommandations remains X800XL / 6800GT/ 7800GTX.

PSU go with the FOrtron 500W solid PSU!

HD I would suggest the raptor for OS, and a beefier one for storage(youd didnt include it so you probably have another one since you work with large photoshop fgile 74 gig is not enough!). I personnaly have a great experience seagate 7200.8 and the 7200.9 are out now...
Oh and I never had any HD that failed me, this is becomming less and less common. I had good experiences with RAID0 and it does diminish load time!

The X2 is a good choice for photoshop, if you want better gaming performance you have to go on a single core with faster clocks.

Case and all te rest its yourchoice and finnaly, stock fan should be ok, but thermaltake/zalman cant hurt.


Asus P4P800DX, P4C 2.6ghz@3.25ghz, 2X512 OCZ PC4000 3-4-4-8, MSI 6800Ultra stock, 2X30gig Raid0
July 8, 2005 2:28:04 PM

I'll 3rd (or is it 4th?) the X2, and go with the Epox nF4-Ultra mobo, it was shown to be faster at stock speeds on the Anandtech review mentioned above. Get a retail boxed CPU and you won't need to buy the Thermaltake fan.

I don't know what your backup strategy is, but if it isn't a daily one, I'd get a couple of 250+gigs (I like seagate because of the warranty, but WD, Maxtor, etc. are all good brands) and RAID 1 (mirror) them for data security. The Raptor is a good drive for OS/Apps/Swapfile because of its speed, but I expect you'd need more storage than that over time.

Also get 2gig of RAM (2x1Gig DIMMs). If you work with more than 2 or 3 of those sized tiffs at once, you'll use it. You may have to go to 2T command timing, but data integrity is more important than speed, and the fractional loss of performance won't hurt your gaming as long as you get a good GPU (6800gt, X800XL, etc.).

Mike.

<font color=blue>Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside the dog its too dark to read.
-- Groucho Marx</font color=blue>
July 8, 2005 2:55:52 PM

<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2465&p=28" target="_new">Anandtech review</A>
Another vote for the EPoX EP-9NPA+ Ultra, and another vote for the Fortron 500W bluestorm.
Get 1G of RAM, and a 7800 video card.
Hard disk you can get a raptor for the OS but definitely something bigger for storage for those big video files.
The NEC burner is very good choice, I have the 3520 but the 3540 is out and it has better speeds.

<font color=red>It's impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious<font color=red>
July 8, 2005 9:53:29 PM

Quote:
I've been running RAID0 for 4 years and I never had a single problem.

That's good luck.

Quote:
Even if you have a single drive, if it fail, you'l loose your stuff anyway, so a backup of personnal data is always necessary.

Exactly! The chance of drive failure is the reason you should always have recent full backups available. But I simply wanted to point out that RAID 0 doubles your chance of an unrecoverable error. I consider that unacceptable.

Quote:
You know that overclocking can cause data corruption

Yes, and I don't advocate overclocking.

Quote:
If you never had RAID, dont advice on it, it is worthless..

There's no need to get touchy. And by the way, 'advice' is not a verb.

Right now I have an 8-way RAID5 with Maxtor Maxline Plus III 250Gb drives on a storage server, and 2-way RAID1 with Samsung SP1213C 120Gb SATA drives on each of the two workstations in my home.

The RAID5 recently recovered from a single drive failure two weeks ago, after running continuously for about 9 months.

The RAID1s in the workstations are a response to having two drive failures on these systems within 3 years. One was a drive just out of warranty, the other well inside.

My experiences with these arrays and with the use of various single drives in the past were the basis for my advice.
July 9, 2005 5:01:21 AM

drives these days are getting VERY reliable, especially the ones i have recommended, the RE series, which are DESIGNED for 1 million hours of uninterrupted service.... built for RAIDs. the chances of a drive failing is the same if u have 2 drives or 2 drives in RAID. so the only way for him to get a better chance of a hard drive failing is to have only one drive... which sounds dumb to me. RAID doesn't eff up ur hard drives. lets see, the chances of a hard drive failing is 1/100,000... and even if we double that no matter if you have a RAID or not is 1/50,000... hmm VERY GOOD CHANCES I SEEE. besides, the only way to go around this "more failiure rate thing is to 1) get only one drive or 2) get a RAID5.... both are just stupid when u are only doing photo editing. but just to be extra sure, i would suggest a system drive, and a RAID.

<font color=red>gforce mx100/200 @ 230/440 =]</font color=red>
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