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my next machine planning, help and advice wanted!


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My current home pc has been good to me over the last 6-7 years but i feel it's time to update to a newer a more robust machine. i have been waiting for Windows 7 to come closer to retail till i start to look into the pieces more seriously and i feel the time is now.

this time around i want to build my own instead of buying an off the shelf. my current pc is a hp Media Center M370n with an upgraded Video card (nvidia 256), 3.24gigs of ram, and a 250gb hard drive.

my use's for the current machine:

keeping up with my music library (main use)

watching movies via dvd or itunes downloads or from hulu as i use a Vizio 32 lcd as a monitor.

net browsing of course.

using a CAD type software for Lighting.

what i want from my next machine:

first and foremost to be able to do perfect and easy 1080P (for movies) with a 50 inch lcd as it's main monitor.

an instant backup incase a hard drive crash, something like a Raid setup would give i guess.

in fact i was toying with an idea of using Raid 5, what are your thoughts? i am willing to buy and install more drives as needed for this.

would like the video card to be nvidia with SLI support and HDMI output, remember i am going with a 50 inch monitor so what power should i be looking into.

would like this machine to be upgradable and future proof for the next 7 years..

dvd writer and a blue ray drive.

here are a few parts i have been looking into sofar..please give me your opinions on them and suggest something cheaper or more costly if you feel the need..

CPU: not really sure what the differences in the intel iCore stuff is to the Core2 stuff. i was looking into the intel Core2 Quad 9650. it has a nice front bus speed and plenty of cores for the future of my needs. i like the speed of 3.0 ghz also of course. the price does not seem over done and could fit in my budget.

Motherboard: this part i am all over the board with as there are so damn many out there. i was looking into the EVGA 790i though. it supports Sli/Cross fire, Raid 5, DDR3, digital sound out, and umm...not sure. anything you people have to recommend in this area?

Video card: another area which i really don't know what i will need and what i won't. i am worried about the powering of 1080p to a big monitor though. again i would like nvidia with SLI support and HDMI output..any ideas here on what the top and bottom for my needs..

case: i really want to roll with an HTPC case. SILVERSTONE GD-01 seems to be really nice and have the inside space and outside space i would like. i really need an external card reader and two spots for dvd/blue ray drives.

Hard drives: was thinking of rocking out with 4 seagate 1tb's in a Raid 5. though i read some people use an ssd drive for their os and then hdd's for their memory..should i bother looking into this way? and btw: i cant stand western digital..really!

ram and power supply: with ram so cheap these days i am planning on going with what is on sale when i buy the parts so i have no specific ram spotted. i would like to go DDR3 as it is the newer. power supply will be chosen when all the parts are bought also..nothing much to think about more then that.

cooling: just a few quiet fans really, i am not planning on over clocking anything..

budget target: around $2,000...hopefully less then that when it comes time to buy..

i would like to have it done by november, so keep in mind if you see a new part coming out by then..

well i need ideas and opinions from you peeps as i trust you all know more about these parts more then i do or my close friends do..

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At this point definitely go i7. There is no FSB because it's basically all asynchronous direct memory accesses -- they've replaced the frontside bus, essentially (oversimplification, but will do for the purpose of convincing Billy).

Asus P6T motherboard is perfectly adequate. Look up reviews. Let me know if you find any reviews that says, "is better than" in front of "Asus P6T".

Max out on memory. Make sure you get one that matches the capability of your CPU and motherboard, so that it isn't the bottleneck.

50 inch LCD monitor? You mean you're going to use a television as your monitor, right? Because the largest monitor I've seen is 30 inch.

1080p is easy, practically anything current (graphics-card -wise) will do 1080p. < US$100 Nvidia's constantly go on sale at NewEgg.

I'll let others answer the Raid question, as I haven't been following that at all. One thing I will say is someone mentioned to me that they wanted to Raid their OS disk not for safety/security/backup reasons, but to go faster. After they explained it (you're essentially hooking up the drives in parallel so that they act as one big multi-platter drive array that can deliver data amongst the "platters" simultaneously and independently at the same time), I could see how it might be a good idea in that particular scenario. I know this is not where you're coming from, but I thought I'd mention it if it interests you.

Fans -- don't skimp on cooling. Overclocking is one thing yes, but lots of video and music == lots of disk access, you want your hard drives not to burn up neither. Especially if you're Raidin'.

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That EVGA is complete overkill, so that would map to the "top end" as Billy put it.

Not that there's anything wrong with complete overkill.

The 9800 series is pretty much the sweet spot in bang-for-the-buck these days. I would get one with more memory if you're going to be doing video.

I guess the real question is (because this is the deciding factor with video cards) -- are you going to be doing any gaming on this deck? It's usually gaming for which you want anything beyond an entry level video card. There's a couple of other pieces of software that will utilize it, not sure what CAD software you are referring to. Please specify so that we can look it up, 'cause that might be one of them.

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It's a good price for a good power supply. Especially if billy wants to do SLI (which he mentioned in his first post). Power supplies also only draw the power they need and not the rated wattage (850w in this case).

True, but aren't power supplies more efficient when drawing close to their rated wattage? Haven't had any experience with SLI personally, as I haven't built a computer since switching back to Apple like 10 years ago, just thought 850 sounded massive.

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True, but aren't power supplies more efficient when drawing close to their rated wattage? Haven't had any experience with SLI personally, as I haven't built a computer since switching back to Apple like 10 years ago, just thought 850 sounded massive.

From what I've been led to believe, around 1/2.

Corsair TX850 Power Supply Review

testing methodology

Not that the power supply drops under 80% under regular use.. only the crossload test, which isn't as common as in the athlon XP days, and the HOT test 5, which loads the psu to 100% load.

That, and buying a bigger psu means more headroom for upgrading further down the road.

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Many will disagree with me, but I would get an external NAS rather than dealing with building a computer that has lots of hardrives, the hassle of getting a case that has easy access to the drives (most NAS allow you to swap drives in seconds), and good cooling. Plus I'm OCD with building computers and cable management and stuff, so the fewer things inside the better.

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Beely, if you aren't playing games you won't need SLI. Agreed that an Nvidia 9800 of some sort will do just fine.
That said, being SLI-ready doesn't need to be expensive. One could certainly go to NewEgg and click "Nvidia" and "SLI-ready" and "<US$100" (and "HDCP-compliant" and whatever else one wants) and come up with quite a few choices. Edited by Dusty Chalk
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But cheap and SLI doesn't make any sense. You can get better performance from a single GPU card that costs similar to 2x of the same card (more or less in the low/mid range).

And does SLI have any advantage for video playback?

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external NAS rather than dealing with building a computer that has lots of hardrives

I'd go this route for music too. Removes a lot of heat from the box. I'd see if it could handle video too, if not then get another internal drive for that.

----

I didn't realize i7 had no fsb, even if its a simplification, holy goddamn :o

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ok i am going to do my best-ester job at this thread cause wow i am mind fucked by the advice...

first off dusty, your first reply is more then enough to convince me to go the icore7 route for sure! thats pretty crazy they are not doing FSB anymore, hell even my friends who rebuild computers and can fix almost anything did not know that.

i will go with the Asus P6T as you and John said too. it has everything i could want in a motherboard! (woot one part picked out!)

memory: it really matters to max it out with these new chipsets huh? Memory is plenty cheap enough these days to load in 12gb's easily!.

i am planning on powering a 50 inch lcd 1080p tv. what i dont understand about cpu's and video cards when pairing with a 50 inch tv is..doesn't take a shit load of power/memory to light up 50 inchs of real estate compared to a 24inch monitor? or am i thinking of the whole video thing wrong? rite now on my p4 with 3.24gb of ram and a 256 AGP video card the computer locks up on anything High def (even youtube videos) powering a 32inch tv...thats why i am so worried about needing enough power from the video card to light up a 1080p on a 50 inch, again i may be thinking of it wrong though...

also which cpu is best for the future. the icore 920 or the $200 more 950?

i priced out on newegg the following items..

gd01 case $140

pt6 Mother 250

gtx 285 vc 345

850tx ps 140

i7-950 cpu 569

12gb ram 189

4 seagate 1tb at $389

total cost is $1,975

which really fits in the budget cause i really was not counting on the blu ray drives or operating system to be part of that cost, its a guarantee item and more importantly an item i know what i am going with already..just like the 50 lcd which is not in the $2000 budget. the main point of the budget was to get the main stuff i didnt know much bout first then i could always add the other stuff later (like the lcd and drives).

i dont mind going with a beefier power supply, as long as it does not suck 850 watts all the time. i rather put a few dollars more out now and not have to upgrade it later on.

Kevin i will be going with a blu-ray burner and maybe a really nice dvd reader that gets some good EAC user reviews. the secondary drive will mostly be used to rip my cd's with EAC. i also learned i have to make sure the video card and lcd is HDCP passed or they wont work together..

as far as going with the video card john recommended would i ever see the difference in the picture in the next 6 years on the big screen? as far as movie playback at 1080p..

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memory: it really matters to max it out with these new chipsets huh? Memory is plenty cheap enough these days to load in 12gb's easily!.
Well, yes and no. It's so cheap, and it certainly doesn't hurt. I have a really old computer that went at least 10db quieter when I maxed it out on 4G of memory (32-bit operating systems --> don't bother with more than 4G; 12G --> definitely get a 64-bit operating system, otherwise you're not really utilizing your memory).
what i dont understand about cpu's and video cards when pairing with a 50 inch tv is..doesn't take a shit load of power/memory to light up 50 inchs of real estate compared to a 24inch monitor?
You're definitely thinking of it wrong -- it actually takes more power/memory to light up 30 inches of 1600p (I.E. 2560x1600) than it does 50 inches of 1080p (I.E. 1920x1080). The only thing your card is going to care about is pixels, so 1080p is 1080p, no matter the form factor.
as far as going with the video card john recommended would i ever see the difference in the picture in the next 6 years on the big screen? as far as movie playback at 1080p..
If this is a concern, then get one that is capable of at least 2560x1600 -- which is easy by today's technology (most contemporary cards [>US$50] should be able to do this).
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  • 4 months later...

I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice, this past weekend i had to get away from the stress so i build my new pc.

I built it in mind that i would be oc'ing it in the long run so i amped up the specs on some stuff.

rite now as it stands..

i7 920

Asus p6t

ocz gold ddr3 1600 ramm times 6 gigs

Sapphire ati 5750

2 seagate 1tb drives (one for music/movies only)

corsair 850 ps

thermaltake v9 black case

thermaltake v1 cpu cooler

sony blueray rom 2 speed

tsst drdw with light scribe

windows 7 pro x64

if it was not for you people in the thread i would be nowhere knowing on what to buy, so thank you very much! i want this machine to be good for another 5-6 years, thats why i put in a huge power supply incase i add more video later. the 1600 ramm and cpu cooler is for future over clocking. i may add another 6gigs of ramm later once i have more money. i looked heavy into using raid but i see no major advantage using it for me personally

btw: this is my first post on any forums from the new machine! yay!

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I don't think that power supply is overkill by any means. You don't actually want to buy a supply that only barely matches up with your usage. Running a PSU well under it's rating means it stays cool, quiet and unstressed while providing stable voltages. When used that way efficiency is the most important aspect of the supply and those Corsairs are over 80% efficient at 20%, 50% and 100% load. They probably waste less power than many of the cheaper brands do with far lower wattage ratings.

As if that wasn't enough reason, power supplies also degrade over time. I've yet to see actual measured numbers, but have seen "5% a year" thrown around as an estimate.

Looks like a pretty great machine you've got there Billy.

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