My "Instead of an iMac" Rig -- First Time Builder Needs Buying Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bobber205, May 9, 2007.

  1. bobber205 macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #1
    I'm so excited! :D

    I've decided that I need an upgrade to my macbook. I was (and still kind of am) contemplating about whether to get an imac 20" and use that for my mac/pc needs instead. But I might need the portability. (I was going to sell my macbook to be able to buy the imac.)

    I had planned on spending about 500 dollars on my imac after I sold my macbook. I have now decided to get a custom pc computer built this next month.

    Here's what I've picked out. My intented uses are this: video encoding/editing on a regular basis, WoW (I want to get at least 60fps on full settings) and lots of linux use.

    Motherboard
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16813128030
    60 dollars

    Basic Case
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16811147073

    Power Supply
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16817163030

    Processor (AMD)
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16819103046

    RAM (2 GIG)
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16820220091

    Western Digital HD (160 GIG)
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16822144415

    Graphics Card!
    http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E16814130062

    That's it. :p

    I know I'm missing an optical drive but a friend will give me an old one of his if I want it.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #2
    Wouldn't you want a dedicated graphics card for a video editing box?

    B
     
  3. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
  4. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #4
    Why are you going with AMD? Price?

    The last workstation I build was AMD based, but that was two+ years ago. Intel's Core 2 Duo Socket T platform offer much better performance than AMD's current offerings. A good P965 Intel motherboard starts at around $100, Intel's cheapest C2D (1.8MHz) CPU is about $120. You can overclock the CPU to 2.4Ghz quite easily on a good P965 motherboard, and go to 3Ghz and beyond for that matter. And, you can easily upgrade to quad CPU later -- the quads should be down to ~$300 by the end of 2007.
     
  5. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #5
    Yes price. That's why I am going with AMD.

    I do not want to spend much more than I am already on the CPU.
     
  6. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #6
    The 3600 is really not much of a CPU anymore, I'm sorry to say. I would really recommend you go with a Core 2 Duo if possible, since it'll give you more bang for your buck. If you're really set on an AMD, you might want to look into an Opteron. The 165 runs for around $90 on eBay (decently more on newegg), and is incredibly capable.
     
  7. jburrows500 macrumors regular

    jburrows500

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Location:
    Hells Kitchen NYC
    #7
    Go a 775 socket intel core 2 duo and swap it out for a Q6600 in 6 months.. I would also go a 600w PS if you might be thinking of a processor upgrade in a year..
     
  8. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    *sigh*

    those are pretty expensive. About half the price I want to spend TOTAL. :D

    I am trying to go under 500.
     
  9. Mr.Texor macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2007
    #9
    I would buy a seagate HD instead of a WD.. why you ask? well. cause it has a 5 year guarantee instead of 3. :)
     
  10. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #10
    Weee are the chaaaampions my frieeeends...

    [​IMG]

    All that, and a free Intel mug too...
     
  11. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2006
    Location:
    Hoosiertown
    #11
    I have a 7900gs in my G5 and it has a similar fan to that of your 7600... It is so freaking damn noisy. just a little warnin.

    and livingfortoday has a sweet build

    except don't you need matching pairs of memory for ddr2 or is that only for improvement? edit nvm
     
  12. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #12
    Dude. You rock my freakin' socks off!

    That's such a much better processor! Where did you save the money? BTW how much was shipping?
     
  13. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

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    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #13
    Ah! My Achilles heel! Shipping was $29.95 for UPS 3 day.
     
  14. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #14
    Geesh! No. No. No.

    Don't get the (old) E6300 w/2MB cache for $167, when you can buy the (new) E6320 w/4MB cache for $168.

    The E6320 is the same as the (old) E6300, just new and improved (4MB L2 cache vs. 2MB). Compare...
     
  15. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #15
    Here's my vote...

    I changed the board to an Asus open box (I love Asus) and the CPU to the E4300. You can overclock the snot out of the E4300 (might need another cooler to do this). In all honesty though, I would wait for the new parts and the price drop from Intel in June before picking a CPU. The new E2160 could be the new bargain hotness.

    Also, the 8500GT is a better choice for video. It supports 100% offloading of H.264 (Vista only for now - XP drivers coming June) and some acceleration of VC-1. The one I picked is fanless (quieter).

    I also picked a Seagate HD for the better warranty and Corsair RAM because I like them.

    Otherwise, I used the rest of the parts from livingfortoday's suggestion to highlight the differences (thanks for doing that!).

    Even with shipping, it comes in at $496
     

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  16. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #16
    That Seagate is an ATA100 drive. SATA gives better performance at lower cost vs. IDE.
     
  17. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #17
    Wow guys.

    I never expected such a generous response!
    I'll keep all the gear you have in mind.

    I would love to get a better card than the 7600. I had no idea the
    8500 was so cheap. :D

    So you think that baby will do some serious encoding? (I get Vista for free from my school)
     
  18. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #18
    Yeah, this machine should serve ya fine. I'd stay away from the E4300, because of the slower FSB, and yeah, my bad - I'd go with the E6320 over the 6300, didn't notice the extra cache - for only a dollar more!
     
  19. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #20
    Ooops. My bad. I thought I filtered it down to SATA. Definitely do SATA. Fortunately, it's basically the same price. I updated my screenshot to fix my mistake.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the FSB when you're using slower RAM. The E4300 is great for overclocking and can beat the X6800 Extreme (with DDR2-800 RAM) using just the stock Intel cooler. Just get a MB that's flexible like the Asus or a Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3. Seriously, with a $114 CPU you can build a system that will beat a box with a $970 CPU.

    It would push the price up $15 (after MIR), and thus over $500 with shipping, but I would consider this RAM because you'll be able to get 2:1 memory ratio with a 400Mhz bus.

    The 8500GT will give similar gaming performance, but will beat the pants off anything when playing back H.264 because of the hardware acceleration. Could come in handy when you want to watch some of your HD video.
     

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  20. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #21
    Wow. I am so pumped! :D

    I do have another question regarding the 8500? I don't know too much about video cards, but I assume it's better than the 7600 by a bit?

    And since you mentioned hardware acceleration: I can get a graphics modeling program from my school in a year or so. How will the 8500 perform?
     
  21. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #22
    From Tom's Hardware:
    "While GeForce 8600 GT may have DirectX 10 hardware, it does not seem suited for those looking for good image quality accompanied with high frame rates. While it can produce 62 frames a second at a resolution of 12x10 with AA enabled in Doom 3, the card can only produce 64 frames with trilinear filtering and no antialiasing. At $150 I would come to expect a little more out of the card. Looking at the clock speeds, the differences are not so different but the performance differences are.

    The cards however do have a lot to offer in terms of video playback. It is a small card and relatively quiet. It would make a good card for a home theater PC and if the 8500 GT is as good at decoding video, it might even make for a better choice with its passive cooler and $100 price tag. Some models may have HDMI interfaces making them even more attractive for this use."

    Whereas they give the best deal for under $120 title to Nvidia with the 7600GT:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/04/09/the_best_gaming_video_cards_for_the_money/page2.html
     
  22. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #23
    The main deal with the 8500/8600 lineup is the addition of the video decoding hardware assist for H.264 and VC-1. These cards eat up H.264 like the 6600 ate up MPEG-2. The only reason I recommended it to you was because you mentioned that you will be doing lots of video work. Since H.264 is where it's at for HD material, you can get the GPU to assist on playback.

    The 8500/8600 is perfect for HTPC applications because they can play back HD material with very low CPU usage (since it's offloaded to the GPU).

    This feature won't impact the performance on games or a 3D modeling program. Livingfortoday pointed you to one review on gaming performance.
     
  23. bobber205 thread starter macrumors 68020

    bobber205

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #24
    So what kind of performance am I looking at encoding a 10 minute mp4 to a high quality avi or whatever file?

    Should it eats conversion for breakfast? :p
     
  24. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

    Joined:
    May 22, 2004
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #25
    The *EN*coding speed depends on CPU mostly. The GPU won't help with creating the video files, only playing them back - the *DE*coding part. It may help with transcoding because the driver might offload decoding the original format before it then encodes into the new format with the CPU - I just don't know for sure.

    Here's the explanation of nVidia's PureVideo HD technology on these new cards.

    Still, the overclocked E4300 will absolutely kill on encoding. I found a writeup where Anandtech did some tests with a box where they set the bus to 375MHz (default is 200), with the RAM running at DDR2-750. The overclocked E4300 beat the X6800 by 11% on video encoding tests. All that with the stock Intel cooler.

    So with an E4300 running at 3.375MHz and an 8500/8600 video card you should be able to set up a really nice box for video encoding/decoding for pretty cheap.

    Also, the 8500/8600 supports HDCP so you can play HD-DVD or Blu-ray discs on your computer with support for the encrypted connection to a HD display. Not sure if you have that or not, but I guess it future proofs you a little.
     

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