Thread: bargain build--is it worth it?
June 25th, 2009, 10:32 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
bargain build--is it worth it?
It's been a year since I joined here seeking advice to upgrade my (now) 7-year old machine. I bought a year, but it's high time I got a new system. This would be my first build. Initially, I wanted a high-end gamer quality system, but as I'm still working on my dissertation and have a baby due in December, I've revised my plans for gaming, as well as my budget.
What I do: I run 3 monitors (and I dream about adding a 4th) primarily for mundane office/research tasks. This machine would need to horsepower to deal with Photoshop CS4, ArcGIS, and potentially some routine video editing. The only games I play are all over 3 years old, and the only upcoming game that I might be able to get will be Diablo 3 (primarily because the wife is a bigger Diablo player than I am).
All that said, here's a potential build. I've put comments alongside the items where I'm seeking feedback.
PSU: Enermax 525W--should be enough to handle two 9xxx series cards, even in SLI (I think; correct me if I'm wrong). Is there a big advantage to paying $30 for the modular version?
CPU: AMD Phenom II X3 2.8 GHz Black--plenty of other choices in the price range I'm shooting for, but I like having more than 2 cores and being able to easily O.C. once I'm ready for that.
Mobo: ASUS M4A78T-E AM3 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD--it's a combo deal with the Phenom II X3, and seems to be both what I need & a good price. I'm pretty clueless on the differences between motherboards--I mean, I can read specs, but I don't know which manufacturers or features I should be looking for.
RAM: 2 x 2GB OCZ Platinum DDR2 1066--cheap, with plenty of expansion potential. The mobo supports DDR3; should I even consider it? Most of it seems to be about twice the price of good DDR2.
HDD: Western Digital 640 GB--going cheap because I have plenty of external storage now, and storage will get cheaper before I need more.
Optical: Samsung CD/DVD burner--nothing to see here, folks.
Misc: Flash media reader--because $11 is cheap to pay for some convenience, especially an extra front USB port.
GPU: 2x Ausus 9500GT 128-bit 512MB DDR3--Though I'm tempted to get 9600s instead, I know that will increase the power demands on my system, and as I'm not going to be doing any hardcore gaming, the 9500s should be fine. And if I really need some extra horsepower for gaming, I can just reboot into SLI (right?) for single-monitor use. Otherwise, these two cards will be powering my 23" (168x1050) and my two 19" (1440 x 900) monitors, and potentially if I can wrangle it, another 23".
Case: Thermaltake Strike Mx--this is where I'm really clueless. I'm not into the looks of a case. I just want one that will fit the stuff I'm putting in, has decent air flow, and is inexpensive. I also would like USB & audio ports in front, which this one has.
I'd add a couple extra case fans for cooling (open to suggestions for best value--and the quieter, the better), and will probably throw in an aftermarket CPU cooler (maybe this Gelid? Seems like models that fit the Phenom II are few and far between) unless the stock cooler works fine (would definitely get an aftermarket if/when I O.C.). Without O/S, this build comes to ~$650 with shipping--and then there are $45 worth of rebates. That would be about $750 with Vista 64-bit, and now that I'm looking at it, a pretty damn good deal for a reasonably powerful build. And the price is low enough that I wouldn't really blink twice when Windows 7 comes out and I'd have to pay to upgrade.
How does it look? Advice?
Last edited by Meph; June 25th, 2009 at 10:36 AM.
June 25th, 2009, 11:27 AM #2
June 25th, 2009, 03:36 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
Hopefully I can get all the parts delivered by next weekend, when my nephew (a physics grad student who has been building his own computers for 10+ years) can help me put it all together.
Oh, the salesdoofus today told me the Windows 7 RC can be done as a clean install with no prior Windows S/N. Is this true? If so, my worries about shelling out $100 for Vista are unfounded. I'll just use W7RC until the real thing comes out, and buy a license then.
June 25th, 2009, 03:49 PM #4
Ok well your gonna need/wanna tweak some of the stuff here then.
You have a DDR3 motherboard picked out, with DDR2 RAM. Those are not compatible with each other, so your gonna need to pick up some DDR3.
Also IDK if you've looked up the performance on a 9500GT, but they really do suck to put it blunt. I understand you said your not really gaming, so I guess it may do alright for you. But if you game, your not gonna like that card.
Also I'd honestly just stick with the stock cooler, I bet it'll perform the same as the one you have picked out. If your really wanting a good cooler, then invest in one of these.
Newegg.com - Sunbeam CR-CCTF 120 mm Core-Contact Freezer CPU Cooler W/TX-2 - CPU Fans & Heatsinks
Do you already have the PSU? If not, then you can save money on that, without sacrificing quality.
And lastly, I understand what your saying about that case, but your gonna have to pay shipping, which is probably gonna tack on another $20 or so. So you might as well look at something in that price range with free shippping. You can get a nicer case for the same price more then likely.
Newegg.com - NZXT Beta Series CS-NT-BETA-B Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases
Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER ELITE 335 RC-335-KKN1-GP Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases
Newegg.com - Thermaltake WingRS 201 VJ60001N2Z Black SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases
And also wanted to say yeah you can use windows 7 RC. You just have to register for a serial on their page. There is a thread around here with the proper links, I don't have them handy atm.
Just some suggestions.
June 25th, 2009, 05:49 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jul 2008
OK, here's the build. I finally figured out the CPU-mobo-RAM-GPU combo I have to use.
PSU: the Enermax 525W linked above ($117.41, on-site already)
CPU: AMD Phenom II 720 X3 2.8GHz Black Edition linked above (combo priced with mobo)
Mobo: The Asus M478T-E linked above (combo = $194.99 + $15 MIR)
RAM: Kingston 2 x 2GB DDR3 1333--a change from above, because the mobo only takes DDR3 ($64.99 + f.s.)
GPU1: HIS Radeon 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 ($69.99 + f.s. + $10 MIR)
GPU2: MSI Radeon 4670 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 ($72.99 + $15 MIR)
*can't do the Nvidia 9500GT because the mobo is Xfire; picked different manufacturers because the rebates are both only 1 per customer. Saves ~$7, so if this is a stupid thing to do to save a few bucks, I can just get 2 x the HIS
Case: Leaning to the Coolermaster Elite 341, mainly because that's the cheapest one I can find locally and I don't want to pay $15 shipping on a $30 case ($37.35)
HDD, Optical drive, Misc: all as above
CPU cooling: still uncertain
So, with the PSU I have and the case I'm thinking of, W7RC for O/S, and no aftermarket CPU cooling just yet, this clocks in @ $665
Throw in a couple case fans, CPU heatsink/fan & thermal goo, and I'm getting in under $700. For 2.8GHx Phenom II X3, 4GB DDR3, 2x ATI 4670 512MB GPU... so, pretty decent power. For really good money.
How does that look?
EDIT: KarmaKiller, you're killing me. I should just wait for you to post. Spent 2 hours figuring out what you told me in that last post. Well, at least I'm getting a bit of positive reinforcement for what I'm s l o w l y figuring out.
EDIT2: Dadgummit, just noticed that the Coolermaster 341 is mATX, and I've got a full-sized mobo. So it looks like I'll order the Rosewill ($29.99 + f.s.) instead.
Last edited by Meph; June 25th, 2009 at 05:58 PM.
July 24th, 2009, 12:04 PM #6
- Join Date
- Jul 2009
For as much as your spending on 2 GPUs why dont you get one that does a much better job?
July 24th, 2009, 12:10 PM #7
July 24th, 2009, 12:27 PM #8
why dont you get one simple cheap card to run the extra monitor(s) and get one faster card for your main monitor(s) to game with. IMO its more worth it that way and less haste than having to run SLI/crossfire. Besides, its not like you need the horsepower on the second card which simply exists to give you a picture right?
Newegg.com - VisionTek 900241 Radeon HD 4850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Newegg.com - POWERCOLOR AX4350 256MD2-H Radeon HD 4350 256MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
for the case may I suggest you spend a little bit more. dont shortchange yourself into a cheap little box that has terrible airflow and is a pain to set up. The cheap ones tend to break really fast too. This one is not too expensive (ok double the Rosewill but not thatttt expensive nonetheless) and is chucked full of awesomeness
Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP Black SECC/ ABS ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases
this one is the other one I would recommend. Its $10 cheaper if that matters
Newegg.com - Antec Three Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases
Lastly , if it hasnt already been said, dont bother with Vista. Download the windows 7 RC and wait til it comes out in a month or two. Much more worth your time. Heck its coming out soon anyway. Why get Vista?
Last edited by pullmyfoot; July 24th, 2009 at 12:39 PM.i5 3750 | ASUS P75 | GTX560Ti | 8gb Corsair Vengence
PII 720BE X3 @ 3.7Ghz | Gigabyte 790GX | HD6850 | 8gb OCZ Reper
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