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Old August 4, 2009, 12:31 PM
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Smile Newbie high-end build for $800

Hello guys.

I am totally new to building computers, and all I have learned about it is from reading tutorials online. I have chosen the parts, but I thought perhaps you guys could give me some tips and let me know if the parts I chose would actually work together :P The budget is $800, including shipping. It's ok if I go over $10 or $20. I want this to be as high-end as possible with the budget I have.

I am using this computer for quite a number of different things. I am an animation student so I will be making extensive use of Autodesk Maya, which I know requires a lot of processing power, especially when rendering. I will also be using a number of the Adobe products for video editing, encoding, etc. I am also a gamer and would like to run most new games smoothly. Not at max necessarily, but certainly closer to high settings than medium.

I am purchasing all of my parts from Newegg. Already have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers. I also have Windows XP Pro which I plan to use. I went with Intel and nVidia since I have always used them so I suppose I naturally gravitated towards them.

I would like to overclock the system if possible. Especially the processor. More power is definitely better. However I am highly unfamiliar with the process. I have read some tutorials but still do not fully understand. All I do understand is that I may need additional cooling if I do overclock. I plan to purchase the parts in mid-September which is about a month away.

Here are the parts:

Processor
Newegg.com - Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

Motherboard
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

Memory
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Desktop Memory

Video Card
Newegg.com - SPARKLE SFPX96GT512D3 GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

Sound Card
Newegg.com - Creative SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio 70SB104000000 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface Sound Card - Sound Cards

Hard Drive
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

DVD Drive
Newegg.com - SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - CD / DVD Burners

Power Supply
Newegg.com - hec ZEPHYR HEC-650DR-AT 650W Continuous @ 40C ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies

Case
Newegg.com - APEVIA X-Plorer ATXB8KLW-SS Silver Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases


The only thing I am not sure about is the sound card. I want something better than integrated sound but nothing incredibly fancy either. I have a 5.1 surround sound speaker system I would like to take advantage of. This one to be precise:

Newegg.com - Logitech X-540 70 watts 5.1 Speakers - Speakers

Again I am a gamer and I also enjoy music so I would like to have something better than the integrated sound.

Well I hope I have been thorough enough. Any help to improve the system I plan to build is greatly appreciated! Thanks.
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Old August 4, 2009, 01:12 PM
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The only problem I see is that PSU. The PSU is something you never want to try to save a few bucks on as those few extra bucks will go a long way. This Corsair PSU will be 100x better, which will help increase your maximum overclock as well as improve efficiency and the lifetime of the rig (more upgrade headroom with a more efficient PSU)
Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Power Supplies
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Old August 4, 2009, 01:22 PM
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Wait for more feedback, but here are my comments. First of all, do not call this high-end computer. With such a tight budget, it cannot be high end. Do not expect gaming at nice quality too with the newest games. I don't want to ruin your pleasure but it's true.

CPU : Excellent choice for your budget and your needs.
MOBO : Good too, you can also look for an asus P5Q if you want to pay a little less.
GPU : 9600gt is not worth it IMO, when you talk about gaming.
MEMORY : I've got that ram and it's really good. Will you have a 64bit OS?
SOUND : Forget this. Better stay with onboard. ESPECIALLY for such a tight budget for a "high-end" computer.
HDD : I'd rather go with western digital caviar black... a couple bucks more for quality.
DVD : It's fine, i guess
PSU : Don't know about zephyr... read lots of review. A PSU is very important and do not be cheap on it. May i suggest a corsair psu.
CASE : Looks gimmicky and cheap. It may look nice (for you... not for me that's for sure) but i'd be careful with this. Take something that may look a little more sober but is better in quality.

For your needs, the budget is certainly a problem. Here's a couple of solutions : cheap out on the CPU (Q6600 is very good), get another -good- psu (500W,maybe?), dvd drive... can't get one on an old computer?, maybe get a mobo with onboard video and save money for a good gpu.
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Old August 4, 2009, 01:43 PM
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I would definitely suggest a different PSU (like everybody else). Go with a cosair or another brand. You don't want to cheap out on this.

I'd also invest in an aftermarket CPU heatsink (I like the Xigmatek HDT, but thats me).


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Old August 4, 2009, 01:48 PM
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First off, does it have to be from newegg? You can probably save yourself some coin if you shop NCIX and price compare. Or at the very least, shop around.

Secondly, I wouldn't panic about a sound card. The onboard sound for any of the new Gigabyte boards is pretty damn good. And you'll certainly save yourself some money if you're on a budget.

Now on to your build... My first eyebrow raise comes from you commenting on being a gamer, but listing a 9600GT as a video card... and it's a Sparkle. My personal advice concerning this card is to turn and run! It's not going to come close to performing the way you want it to, and that's one of the worst brands you could choose. If you're on a budget, your best bet would probably be to go with a decent 4850, and make the money in your budget by swapping to an AMD platform or simply dropping the soundcard. The difference in performance would be like night and day! Newegg even has the 1GB XFX version for $117.99.

Secondly, and I know you're on a budget, but I would consider looking in to a bit better in the way of a case. I'm not sure if you're in to that flashy 'alien' design for your case (to each their own) but I would expect much for sound dampening, air flow or build quality from a no-name cheap case. I also have the same argument for your PSU. It's a very questionable brand with bad reviews all over the place. You'd probably be better served with a lower wattage on a better product.

My personal opinion is that you should never start a 'budget' build with a quad core, then sacrifice everything else for it. Building your PC with the whole product in mind is a much better philosophy. I'll put together a list from NCIX using current sale prices to show you what I mean. (Another reason NCIX rocks is their weekly sales. You can always find a few things that will fit into your build.)

Antec Three Hundred Mini Tower - $58.99

OCZ GameXStream 700W - $109.99 - MIR = $79.99 (Found this after my original post and there was room in the budget)

Gigabyte EP45-UD3L - $102.25 - MIR = $92.25


Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 - $189.99

G.SKILL 4GB 2X2GB DDR2-1000 - $55.99

Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB SATA 32MB - $92.99

XFX Radeon HD 4870 750MHZ 1GB - 169.99

LG Black 22X SATA DVD Writer - 32.03

TOTAL - 772.22
*note* none of these prices were price-compared, so you might even save yourself more money when it's all said and done.

This leaves you under budget, and is a much better layout than your original build for what you're looking for. Sure you go down to a dual core... but it's a VERY solid processor still and won't leave you lacking for performance. Plus, all the other jumps you gain from the saved money (especially the jump to a 4870) will gain you MUCH more performance from your machine.

Last edited by Caldezar; August 4, 2009 at 01:57 PM.
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Old August 4, 2009, 01:54 PM
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Agreed with Caldezar. Beside the PSU and case thing, here's your dilema :

Whether you with a 2core cpu and get a good GPU if you really want to game. Or go with a quad core if you plan to use lots of processing and forget high quality gaming with new games.

Your choice : fun or work. Or save a little more money...
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Old August 4, 2009, 02:01 PM
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Hey guys. First of all thanks for your feedback and info.

I suppose I will drop the sound card and invest in an actual good one further down the line. And yes I am a gamer, but a console gamer. Not that I don't like PC games but I have never been able to run them at very high settings! Well I am looking to change that, but I suppose my ignorance becomes apparent with my choice of GPU. Well I am looking around based on the suggestions. Also didn't know about NCIX, but I am definitely looking at it now.

I was also not terribly convinced with the case, but I think I shall find a more plain yet sturdy looking one. Thanks again everyone for your suggestions. It is a big help.
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Old August 4, 2009, 02:58 PM
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It's a pleasure. When you review your build, post it again here and we will try to help you again. Tell us if you plan to change something or if budget changes. Do not forget to find a pricematching website for NCIX. Don't be scared of ATI by the way, it may allow you to find something that fits your budget.
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Old August 4, 2009, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimTheEnchanter View Post
Do not forget to find a pricematching website for NCIX.
I would say you could use our very own price compare...
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Old August 4, 2009, 04:44 PM
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Alright, I have made revisions, based mainly on Caldezar's suggestions:

Processor:
Newegg.com - Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83GHz 12MB L2 Cache LGA 775 95W Quad-Core Processor - Processors - Desktops

Motherboard:
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard - Intel Motherboards

Memory:
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F2-8500CL5D-4GBPK - Desktop Memory

GPU:
Newegg.com - XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards

Hard Drive:
Newegg.com - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives

DVD Drive:
Newegg.com - SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - CD / DVD Burners

PSU:
Newegg.com - OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI 700W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Power Supplies

Case:
Newegg.com - Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases

Basically changed the GPU, PSU, and case to what Caldezar suggested. Also dropped the sound card.

It comes to $830.86 with shipping from Newegg. Goes $30 over but I think that is acceptable. Also after rebates I actually get $40 back so I think it a success. This way I can keep the Quad Core.

Price checked between Newegg and NCIX and I found Newegg is cheaper. I still plan to do some more in-depths price checking with other sites and shop around.

In any case I actually feel confident about the system now. Thanks everyone for your help. Also I'll be sure to do some more in-depth research on GPU's in general to know more about that. Thanks again, you guys are great.
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