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Okay, It's Dream Computer Time!


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#1 MelissaPleases

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 01:18 PM

I just received an email about ten minutes ago regarding my Christmas bonus. Even budgeting for some necessities around the house, shopping for others, etc., I found that I'm going to have a nice chunk left over that I can regard as "play money." I am going to build myself a brand new computer. (I'm so excited!!)

Since the cost isn't really a huge factor for me (and it's not often that I can say that about anything!), I'd like to get some recommendations from people here about the best components for this new machine. I'm mostly interested in the box itself, not the monitor, keyboard and mouse. Those are all relatively inexpensive these days, for my purposes. I'm not a huge gamer, though I do play Perfect World regularly, but I have no need for a gaming keyboard, or for an elaborate mouse. For those devices - monitor, keyboard and mouse - I'll shop around for what I want, though I'll probably get a really nice monitor.

As stated, I don't do a lot of gaming. I do, however, use a lot of high-end 3D graphics applications - specifically, Poser Pro, Maya 3D, Houdini, Cinema 4D, and Cobalt. I also do a lot of post work on my 3D images, as well as web layout design using Photoshop. My current machine is sufficient for these apps, but slow - VERY slow - when it comes to the rendering process in the 3D apps.

So, everyone... Help me build a dream computer. I have right around $2,000.00 to work with, so I'm pretty sure that I can build a really nice computer here. The only caveat I have is that I'm not overly fond of the "see-through" towers. My office already looks like the starship Enterprise with all the little flashing lights scattered around. I also want as much storage space as I can possibly get without getting into setting up a RAID array.

Build me a 'puter, BC people!! :clapping:

Edit To Add: I have built computers before - I never buy them retail. Just to avoid the obvious question... :thumbup2:

Edited by MelissaPleases, 16 November 2010 - 01:20 PM.

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 01:40 AM

Well, you can get an amazing PC for that price, but given what you do, you may still have no practical need for the $1000 CPU's and uber-high-end graphics setup. Nevertheless, you can still get a very nice computer.

Case: COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP - This is a very nice, very elegant, and well designed case. This is big enough for all of your components. You will, however, pay out the nose with shipping. $199

Motherboard: MSI 890FXA-GD70 AM3 AMD 890FX - This is a high-end motherboard with AMD's flagship chipset. This allows for AM3 CPU's, DDR3-1333, and allows for Crossfire. $199 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

Graphics Card: HIS H687F1G2M Radeon HD 6870 (Two of these) - I suggest two of these cards in a Crossfire setup. These cards are not the high-end cards, but they come very close for about $100 less per card. These cards perform between the Radeon 5850 and 5870 in terms of performance and can very easily handle all new games. If you still want one of the best, and pay more for it, you can also get the HIS H587FN1GD Radeon HD 5870 1GB. $479 ($239 times two cards)

Power Supply: Sparkle Computer Corp GOLD CLASS SCC-750AF 750W - Sparkle Computer Corp., not to be confused with Sparkle Power, is fairly new to the power supply scene, but their PSU's get high marks and are quality components. This PSU can easily handle two high-end graphics cards in a Crossfire setup. $149

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz - This is AMD's flagship six-core CPU. There is a valid, I think, reason for this CPU. You referenced Poser Pro, Maya 3D, Houdini, Cinema 4D, and Cobalt above. Some of those programs should use more than four cores, and if they are anything like Handbrake, may favor actual physical cores over hyperthreading. You could go for one of Intel's high-end six core CPU's, but those are far more expensive than this and will severely hit your budget of $2000. This does seem like a great alternative, balancing value and performance. As this is a Black Edition CPU, it is unlocked allowing for easy overclocking. $229

Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (Four of these) - Again, you referenced rendering applications, which probably uses loads of memory. Therefore, I suggest maxing out your RAM at 16GB. $239 ($59 times four sticks)

Hard Drive One: Corsair Force CSSD-F120GB2-BRKT 2.5" 120GB - This is an SSD you use to install the OS and all of your frequently applications. $219

Hard Drive Two: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6402AAEX 640GB - This is your data drive where you keep pictures, movies, music, etc. $69

Optical Drive: HP Multiformat DVD writer Black SATA Model 1260I-H06 - This is a baisc DVD drive. If you want something that will burn and read Blu-Ray disc's too, the LG WH10LS30K is also a good, but more expensive, drive. $19

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - You need this. $94

Grand Total: $1,903 (Before shipping and rebates)

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#3 MelissaPleases

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 07:34 PM

Oohhh... This looks sweet, in any configuration using the recommended components.

The lower end items you mentioned are just fine, really. I like it!

Once I make some decisions, based on your, and any other, responses I get, I'll order the parts, and upload a little series of pics of the new machine, from start to finish.

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#4 ThunderZ

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 08:30 PM

Want a little speed?

40 Gig less capacity and $20 more then the one DJBPace07 suggested. But a bit faster interface with this pci SSD as the primary drive. Should work with the suggested mobo.

Basically only the OS and security apps. would be installed on it.

My next\final build will probably be based on it and exact same processor he suggested.

Edited by ThunderZ, 17 November 2010 - 08:30 PM.


#5 the_patriot11

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 08:37 PM

heres another option to consider:

Case: $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119215

CPU $230
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103849

Hard drive: $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136534

Crossfire enabled motherboard: $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128435

memory: $75 ($55 after rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220431

Power supply: $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171053

Video card: $255
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102909

Blueray/DVD burner $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136181

Throw in 3 120 mm fans for added cooling ($30, 10 a piece)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103061

Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit: $180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116762

total: $1240. this leaves you room to even get aftermarket cooling or even 2 of those 6870s to crossfire, or more memory if you want it. That motherboard will support up to 1866 mhz Ram on the overclock, though I recomended the 1333 becaust that is what it is designed for max without overclocking it. If you choose to overclock, it won't be a big deal-Gigabyte Boards have a 2 oz copper inner layer and make for excellent overclocking boards.

Anyway, just thought Id throw out some other options to look at. As you can see both mine and DJBpaces builds are fairly similar, just a few minor differences. Though, I would hate to disagree with DJB, but if your worried about the 6870 not being a performance card-it should perform at least as well if not better then the 5870 since it is part of ATIs new generation of cards, and is still in the high end department-it wont perform as well as the 6890 when it comes out, and it may be worth waiting a bit for it to come out-but it is still a high end card nonetheless.

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 11:11 PM

Patriot's build and mine are similar, but mine is a little more on the high-end side, though both are very good builds regardless. Do keep in mind that AMD has altered the numbering scheme of their GPU's, in addition to dropping the ATI name, the x8xx series is no longer the high-end model, the x9xx series is. So, from this point forward, the 6800 line is for mid range and 6900 is high-end with the 6970 coming out on Dec. 13. Nonetheless, the 6870 is still a very nice card.

There are differences between the two builds to consider: Patriots build comes with 2x2GB RAM, not with single 4GB sticks, you are limiting the amount of RAM your computer can have without replacing sticks. This may not be an issue unless you are rendering with those tools mentioned earlier which may use more RAM than many standard applications. I also don't suggest a mid-tower case if you are going to be Crossfiring higher performing cards due to space and thermal issues. Given your budget, you can afford the SSD for very quick read/write speeds. The motherboard is a GX not FX chipset. With single GPU setups, this isn't much of an issue, with Crossfire on the 890FX, both PCI-E X16 slots run at 16X/16X, on the 890GX, they go at 16X/8X. The performance difference is actually very minor, but again, with that budget you can probably afford it. There is also absolutely no reason for you to need Windows 7 Ultimate, it is a waste for home users unless they do some very sophisticated enterprise functions. See this chart comparing all of the Windows 7 SKU's.

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#7 the_patriot11

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:26 AM

Aaaah I forgot they were changing the naming scheme, I take back my comment about the 6870 being high end, thankyou for pointing that out. I don't know why they keep having to change things, it makes things confusing, but in any case theyre still good cards, but if you want the cutting edge you might want to wait for the 69xx series to come out, though they will come with a much higher price tag.

I was going with the 2 x 2 gig stick, because 4 gigs is still ample ram, thinking that 16 gigs is an aweful lot of ram and still not needed today and might want to save some money, but after looking at the price, maxing it out or going with 2 4 gigs I can see might be a wiser choice.

As far as the motherboard thing, ya the second slot runs at 8x, but I sincerely doubt you could really notice much of a difference, in some areas maybe but youd almost have to look closely. My primary reason for recomending the gigabyte board is they have some ingenuitive technology that no one else does, mainly that 2 oz copper inner layer that more then doubles a motherboards life, never seen any other brand motherboard do that, and the cooling pipe technology over the chipset, while not gigabyte exclusive, is very well designed for cooling in mind even under maximum stress.

I Typically agree with a Full ATX cases for crossfire/sli setups, however, that cm690, almost should not be called a mid-ATX, it is huge for a mid ATX, but still smaller then a full ATX, and has better cooling then many full ATX cases ive seen, while taking up less room, it was a genius case that I have used in multiple high end rigs including mine (mine was a original CM 690, and while I dont have it anymore, it used to be a crossfire setup) very well set up case. In any case, I like DJBpaces case as well-it is a good quality case, all matter of personal preference.

As far as windows 7, DJB is right most users don't really need it-I prefer it, because I like that bit locker technology that comes with it, and a few networking tools that arnt offered in earlier versions, that and I just like having the ultimate of anything hehe. but, if you don't see yourself ever using bit locker techology youd be better off using a lower version.

Also, I didn't list a SSD drive, namely because in my opinion-while theyre nice and fast I didn't see them as essential as yet, but if you got the money no reason not to. . .

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#8 MelissaPleases

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 04:21 AM

Okay, I have a question, one that I can't find a lot of explanation for. What exactly is crossfire, or crossfiring? What is its purpose?

As for overclocking, I've never done it, and I'm not all that familiar with the benefits vs. potential hazards.

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#9 MelissaPleases

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:16 AM

Well, you can get an amazing PC for that price, but given what you do, you may still have no practical need for the $1000 CPU's and uber-high-end graphics setup. Nevertheless, you can still get a very nice computer.

Case: COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP - This is a very nice, very elegant, and well designed case. This is big enough for all of your components. You will, however, pay out the nose with shipping. $199

Motherboard: MSI 890FXA-GD70 AM3 AMD 890FX - This is a high-end motherboard with AMD's flagship chipset. This allows for AM3 CPU's, DDR3-1333, and allows for Crossfire. $199 (Before $20 mail-in rebate)

Graphics Card: HIS H687F1G2M Radeon HD 6870 (Two of these) - I suggest two of these cards in a Crossfire setup. These cards are not the high-end cards, but they come very close for about $100 less per card. These cards perform between the Radeon 5850 and 5870 in terms of performance and can very easily handle all new games. If you still want one of the best, and pay more for it, you can also get the HIS H587FN1GD Radeon HD 5870 1GB. $479 ($239 times two cards)

Power Supply: Sparkle Computer Corp GOLD CLASS SCC-750AF 750W - Sparkle Computer Corp., not to be confused with Sparkle Power, is fairly new to the power supply scene, but their PSU's get high marks and are quality components. This PSU can easily handle two high-end graphics cards in a Crossfire setup. $149

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz - This is AMD's flagship six-core CPU. There is a valid, I think, reason for this CPU. You referenced Poser Pro, Maya 3D, Houdini, Cinema 4D, and Cobalt above. Some of those programs should use more than four cores, and if they are anything like Handbrake, may favor actual physical cores over hyperthreading. You could go for one of Intel's high-end six core CPU's, but those are far more expensive than this and will severely hit your budget of $2000. This does seem like a great alternative, balancing value and performance. As this is a Black Edition CPU, it is unlocked allowing for easy overclocking. $229

Memory: Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (Four of these) - Again, you referenced rendering applications, which probably uses loads of memory. Therefore, I suggest maxing out your RAM at 16GB. $239 ($59 times four sticks)

Hard Drive One: Corsair Force CSSD-F120GB2-BRKT 2.5" 120GB - This is an SSD you use to install the OS and all of your frequently applications. $219

Hard Drive Two: Western Digital Caviar Black WD6402AAEX 640GB - This is your data drive where you keep pictures, movies, music, etc. $69

Optical Drive: HP Multiformat DVD writer Black SATA Model 1260I-H06 - This is a baisc DVD drive. If you want something that will burn and read Blu-Ray disc's too, the LG WH10LS30K is also a good, but more expensive, drive. $19

Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM - You need this. $94

Grand Total: $1,903 (Before shipping and rebates)

Case: Okay, now this is really nice - I love this case. Design is aesthetically beautiful, and it looks to be very efficiently laid out. I love the exterior "rails" on this.

Motherboard: Oh, nice mobo! With the above case, that's a total of 6 USB 2.0 ports, and 2 USB 3.0 ports. IMO, you can never have enough USB ports. (I'm a peripherals freak, so USB ports are important to me!) It looks to be something that will be extremely usable for a quite a few years to come, too.

Graphics Card: I know I asked this in another post, but I'm not really clear on what a Crossfire setup is. As for needing the higher end cards, I don't think so. I don't do much animation; 99% of my 3D work is still imaging. And I'm not a high-end gamer. I don't watch a lot of movies on my computer, and don't need really high-end graphics for that, because I have a HD television. If I'm reading this correctly, these are like "mid-high" range in performance, which is more than sufficient for my purposes.

Power Supply: Nice! I've never used a PSU that allows me to have only the cables that I need - all of the PSUs that I've used come with the cables already connected internally, which leaves me with all this free-hanging cables inside the case that just get in the way when I need to do something in there.

CPU: Nice - I've always loved AMD processors. Intel makes nice stuff, but they're so d*mned pricey. I'm interested in more info on overclocking - it's something I've always been a little bit afraid of, but I'd like to know what the advantages/disadvantages might be.

Memory: I'm not familiar with this brand - I've always used Corsair RAM sticks. Is there a difference in performance between the two, or is it more just a price consideration? And yes, I plan to max out the memory. Rendering is a memory-hogging process.

Hard Drive One: I'll probably need to go with a slightly bigger drive for the OS and applications. I have a 230 GB drive now for the OS and apps; I have all of my applications installed, nothing else on the drive, and I've used 121 GB of space.

Hard Drive Two: I've always been happy with WD drives - I still have an 80 GB IDE WD drive that I use for archiving old files, etc., that I don't want to lose. That drive is at least six years old, and it's still going strong.

Optical Drive: I need to think about this one. I have a nice little Asus LightScribe DVD burner in this machine, old enough that it's an IDE drive, but it still does a nice job for me. I just might go for the Blu-Ray drive, though I'm not 100% on that. I don't burn a lot of movies, so it seems kind of pointless, really. Most of the burning I do is for data. I truly don't pirate material anymore!

Operating System: This I already have - I have Windows 7 Pro version, purchased retail.

Really, really nice build, DJB. I'm extremely taken with the case - that's just a beautiful design. Some of the guys here might think this is silly, but... Between the mobo, with its blue connectors, the PSU with its purple and pink "bits" showing, and the graphics cards with the red fans, it also satisfies my need for pretty colors. Every time I find myself opening the case for cleaning, I'll see all those pretty colors in there, and smile. It's a girl thing, what can I say?

I probably won't be building this until after the holidays - there's just too much going on at this time of year. It will be like a late Christmas present to myself.

As I get responses, I'll make some decisions, probably ask for more advice, and then post my final choices. Thank you for your input here. It's much appreciated.

Oh, and by the way... Now that I've decided to do this, my daughter (ten years old), is every bit as excited as I am. She thinks she's going to "inherit" this box. NOT! I did decide, though, that I'll give her my laptop - she really should have her own computer for school, etc. Though, that means I'll have to be so much more vigilant with her - right now, I pretty much know everything she does online, since she does it on my machine. At any rate, my building a new computer means that she'll get her own, so all of you who give me input here, just know that you're also helping me make a little ten-year-old girl very happy!

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Case: CoolerMaster Storm Trooper Full ATX | Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-Z170X | CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core | GPU: MSI Radeon R9 390X 8GB 512-Bit | PSU: EVGA 80 PLUS GOLD 850 W | RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR4 SDRAM [4x8GB] Audio: Integrated Creative Sound Core 3D 5.1 | Internal Storage: Samsung 2 TB HDD | Seagate 1 TB HDD | Samsung 500GB SSD [x2] | Mushkin 500GB SSD | External Storage: Seagate 2TB | Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS324 Dual Layer

Display 1: AOC I2757Fh 27" | Display 2 & 3: LG 24MP57HQ-P 24" | Operating Systems: OS 1: Windows 10 Professional | OS 2: Linux Mint Cinnamon | OS 3: Windows 7 Ultimate x-64 | Antivirus: MS Security Essentials | Firewall: Windows Firewall


#10 MelissaPleases

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 06:42 AM

heres another option to consider:

Case: $75
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119215

CPU $230
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103849

Hard drive: $70
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136534

Crossfire enabled motherboard: $135
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128435

memory: $75 ($55 after rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220431

Power supply: $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171053

Video card: $255
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102909

Blueray/DVD burner $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136181

Throw in 3 120 mm fans for added cooling ($30, 10 a piece)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103061

Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit: $180
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116762

total: $1240. this leaves you room to even get aftermarket cooling or even 2 of those 6870s to crossfire, or more memory if you want it. That motherboard will support up to 1866 mhz Ram on the overclock, though I recomended the 1333 becaust that is what it is designed for max without overclocking it. If you choose to overclock, it won't be a big deal-Gigabyte Boards have a 2 oz copper inner layer and make for excellent overclocking boards.

Anyway, just thought Id throw out some other options to look at. As you can see both mine and DJBpaces builds are fairly similar, just a few minor differences. Though, I would hate to disagree with DJB, but if your worried about the 6870 not being a performance card-it should perform at least as well if not better then the 5870 since it is part of ATIs new generation of cards, and is still in the high end department-it wont perform as well as the 6890 when it comes out, and it may be worth waiting a bit for it to come out-but it is still a high end card nonetheless.


Case: I'm kind of torn between this one, because it's almost perfectly black, and the one that DJB recommended, because of the more (to me) aesthetically pleasing design. There is, though, the $124.00 price difference to consider. But I do just love that case that DJB came up with.

CPU: That CPU seems to be getting good reviews from both of you, and I respect the opinions of everyone I've met here so far. Unanimous comments from everyone who responds on this forum mean a lot...

Hard drive: This may be a good idea. I always need more storage space. Though I do need to run with two drives. I like keeping the OS and applications on one drive, and all data storage on a separate drive. I can't believe how cheap drives are now. When I got my very first ever hard drive, it was a 20 MB - yes, you read that right - Seagate drive that cost me $200.00!! (I just dated myself, didn't I?)

Crossfire enabled motherboard: I like the mobo that DJB suggested much better. It just seems to be a better performing, more "features laden" board. If I'm wrong in that, please let me know.

Memory: As DJB noted, some of my apps/processes are extremely memory-hungry. I want to max out the RAM to the extent that I can.

Power supply: I'm not particularly thrilled with once again using a PSU that has all of those cables attached, as opposed to being able to attach only the cables I actually need. The second option lets me keep the inside of the box much cleaner.

Video card: One of these? Or two? DJB suggested using two cards. Do you see a need for two cards, or no?

Blueray/DVD burner: This might be a good idea. I have a LightScribe drive now, but with no Blu Ray capability. Although, as I said, I don't do a lot of burning other than data disks, so Blu Ray may be unnecessary.

Extra fans: Extra cooling is always good, which brings up a question: What are your feelings about liquid cooling systems? Are they worth the investment in terms of added efficiency?

OS: I have Windows 7 Pro 64 bit, so unless there's a significant advantage to the Ultimate version, I think I'm set with an OS.

Edited by MelissaPleases, 18 November 2010 - 06:43 AM.

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#11 the_patriot11

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 07:17 PM

Case is pretty much preference here, I really like that case DJB suggested myself, its definetly a nice case.

As far as features and performance, the MSI board DJB suggested is a better board then the one I suggested-the only real strong point that gigabyte has over the MSI is the 2 oz copper inner layer, that board was designed for overclocking. It would take a gigabyte board such as this really to match it. Both would be a good option In my opinion.

Keep in mind if you can't afford multiple drives you can partition a single drive down so it acts like multiple drives. But, I can definetly see the advantages of having more then one-no worries about accidently deleting a partition.

As for the memory, if you want to max it out on a budget, I would go with DJBpaces suggestion-Patriot memory will outperform it slightly-but not enough to be worth the extra $$$, its rather expensive in comparison and I doubt youd really notice a lot of difference. There would be some for sure, especially if you overclocked, but your money would go a lot farther with the mushkin and that is high quality ram.

As far as Crossfire, it is ATIs version of SLI. SLI/Crossfire allows you to link mulltiple video cards together to increase graphical performance, especially 3D rendering. ATI has crossfire, NVIDIA has SLI. for more reading go here the only downside is it does take away from CPU power a little bit-but with a six core like the one we suggested, you would probably never notice its got plenty of power to go around. I personally have used crossfire setups before, and currently am not and have no issues with my gaming-but there are benefits to it. If your not sure, what you could do is just start out with one card, and then decide if you need more, order another one. Or order both, and if you don't like it, return one of them. Personally, if I had the money, I would definetly crossfire, either 2 6870s, or if I didnt want to crossfire, just hold out till the 6970 comes out and just start with one of those. Like I said, you can always add more cards later, both the board DJB suggested and the one I suggested in this post will handle 3-4 cards.


I have a friend who absolutly loves liquid cooling, though ive never played much with it. I will say this though, if you do plan on doing any serious overclocking-liquid cooling, at least for the CPU may be a good idea, either that or a very very good aftermarket heatsink. Just keep in mind, using aftermarket coolers voids AMDs warranty (so if you have issues with the CPU and have to RMA it, don't tell AMD what cooler your using lol) Me personally, I don't overclock, and all my systems are air cooled-never had a problem with cooling.

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

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#12 MelissaPleases

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 10:57 PM

Wow - up to 200% performance increase running a Crossfire setup? That's amazing!

So, if you had to choose between the original mobo that DJB suggested, or this last one you linked to, which way would you go? Or is the difference really negligible?

Edited by MelissaPleases, 18 November 2010 - 10:58 PM.

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#13 the_patriot11

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 11:47 PM

Theyre both fairly comparable motherboards, the MSI has 5 PCI express 16 slots compared to the gigabytes 4-the gigabyte has more USB 2.0 slots, and sata II slots, as well as ESATA, but as far as Sata III and USB III theyre equal, The MSI board will support faster memory (overclocked of course) and several other small differences. In all honesty, I will be honest here-I am biased Gigabyte-Gigabyte and ASUS boards are about all I use for performance setups. Performance wise, especially on a crossfire setup, that MSI board is still a hair better then the gigabyte board performance wise-but just a hair, and for 20 dollars more. And Im sure DJB would strongly recomend MSI. And typically, I haven't had much luck with them, however, my research on this board tells me that this board would be worth the money-it really would, I would have to say, either board you choose I think you would be happy with, you just might have to think on it for awhile and compare the two side by side and see which features you like more between each one.

Ya, crossfire does increase your graphics performance a lot, one of the many features. I sometimes caution against it, especially with people running older games or older, slower CPUs combined with newer cards-because a crossfire setup does slow down your CPU a notch, but in the case of a setup like this, with a six core high end CPU and 16 gigs of ram, it shouldn't affect your system at all, at least not in anyway that will affect your system in the leat bit.

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

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#14 DJBPace07

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 12:30 AM

The difference between the 890FX and the 890GX motherboards isn't that extreme with Crossfire. One operates at 16X/16X the other 16X/8X. It may sound like a lot but it really isn't, the FX motherboard squeezes out every potential FPS in the game whereas the GX sacrifices some. Both motherboards are made by quality manufacturers and you would, should, be pleased with either of them. Asus also makes good motherboards, and if you ever decide to go over to Intel CPU's and chipsets, XFX and EVGA both are good brands. Keep in mind that all motherboards are mass produced and there is always a random chance of DOA's.

Multi-GPU gaming with SLI or Crossfire is relatively common and should be done with upper mid to high range graphics cards. The reason behind this is that not all games scale well using that technology. In cases such as this, even if you did have Crossfire, the game would only use a single card. If the game is poorly optimized, the second card may barely be used. I had a GeForce 9800 GTX in SLI that ran fine, until I started playing Final Fantasy XIV, which will bring most PC's to their knees. Technically, two 9800 GTX's have nearly the same computational power of a Radeon 5850. The 9800's I had were limited to 512MB of memory and they were of an older, less efficient design whereas the 5850 had 1GB and was brand new. To do multi-GPU gaming, the exact same image data must be in both cards at the same time to process it. The performance difference between the two cards in that game were like night and day, plus I reduced my PC's power consumption by half and have a cooler case since I only needed a single card. This is also why a full ATX computer case is suggested, these cards, by themselves, do not produce loads of heat. However, when you add two or more of them and place them under load, heat builds quickly. BTW, here's the official benchmark for Final Fantasy XIV, it uses the game engine to render all of the images and puts a strain on most PC's, the actual scene you are given changes based on the caracter selected: FFXIV Benchmark.

Mushkin is also a fairly common brand, along with Corsair, Patriot, Crucial, OCZ, A.Data, G Skill, and Kingston. The Patriot branded memory suggested earlier has slightly tigher timings leading to a very slight increase in performance. Depending on what you do, you may not even notice the difference. From what I've seen, DDR3-1333 seems to be the chosen memory for current AMD platforms, and most motherboards seem to have fewer problems with RAM voltages at 1.5V.

Other, larger SSD's to consider are: Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2BD/128GB and Mushkin Enhanced Callisto Deluxe MKNSSDCL240GB-DX 2.5" 240GB. SSD's are very expensive past certain capacities. Also, keep in mind that traditional platter-based drives usually start to fail after five years. The longest I've kept in a PC I used on a daily basis was seven years.

If you are interested in learning more about PC hardware and building PC's, I suggest the This Week in Computer Hardware podcast hosted by PC Perspective's Ryan Shrout and Tekzilla's (Formerly of TechTV) Patrick Norton. This week's episode, 95, discusses GTX 580's, faster SSD's, and loads of PC questions from viewers.

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#15 MelissaPleases

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 02:19 AM

Thanks for the information, DJB. I'll definitely check out the podcast. I'm always interested in learning more about computers in general - I've recently decided to begin taking online classes to "upgrade" my AS degree in Computer Science to a BS degree. It's time to finish my education!

I'm going to continue to pick people's brains about this next build, and make my decisions based on whatever input I might receive. Sometime after the first of the year, I'll be ordering components, and I'll post a detailed, step-by-step pictorial of the build itself.

Oh, I did have one question: Is it possible to do a Crossfire setup utilizing a GPU card, and the integrated graphics from the mobo?

Off topic for a moment, if I may - I find myself thinking this a lot, but I have to say it again. I haven't even been visiting this site for a full month yet, and I am continually amazed at the levels of expertise I find here, and at the willingness of the members to share their knowledge with others. BC has become my number one, all time favorite web site. Particularly since everyone actually acts like adults! There's almost no "snarkiness" to be found here, which is something I really appreciate.

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