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Help selecting components for new Windows system build

Posted on 2006-07-11
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I volunteered to build a computer in July for a friend who is heavily into graphics/video editing and uses 4 or 5 programs at a time (like Photoshop, MathCad, Premiere). He wants a Windows XP system, an Intel processor, and an Asus mobo. Must be Vista-ready. (I'd like to say that price is no object, but it certainly is. $1500 tops for everything.)

I've been doing a lot of research, but i thought I'd get the experts' opinions before I order parts.

Intel processor first: Which specific processor do you recommend and why?

Mobo? (I could probably talk him out of Asus, if necessary . . . Me, I would probably go with a ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe mobo--but that's AMD.)

Graphics card (in $150-300 range, to support dual monitors)?

Thanks for all your help--

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Question by:reckon
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Author Comment

by:reckon
ID: 17087080
Since there's really no right answer, I'll spread the points around.
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jamietoner earned 600 total points
ID: 17087126
For the cpu i would go with a pentium d 950 (3.4 ghz 2x2mb l2 cache's, 800mhz fsb), for the motherboard an Asus P5WD2-E Premium, for the graphics card for the price range the Nvidia 7900gt would be the best choice, but from what it sounds like what its going to be used for you might want to spend a little more and get a Nvidia quadro fx 1500.
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Assisted Solution

by:Nemesis09
Nemesis09 earned 400 total points
ID: 17087483
I'll stand behine jamietoner on this one, definatley stick with nVIDIA for the graphics card, go quadro if you can afford it, plus almost all of nvidia's cards come stock with dual d-sub or dual dvi out (or a combo), either way you'll be able two run 2 monitors.

Also I think the new pentium chip is the way to go, dual core, loads of cache and the brute force power of 3.4GHz is right on the money for heavyduty video/graphics and pretty much anything else editing.

The other thing to remember is that your going to need loads of RAM, go with at least 1GB for your needs. but dont go too nuts... 4GB is a bit rediculous. and deffinatley take advantage of dual channel. Make sure the MOBO has it (they all do these days) and get 2 identical sticks of ram (ie. 2x512MB instead of 1x1024MB), or a matched pair is even better. Corsair, PQI and Kingston are the way to go.

Video also takes up heaps of HDD space, personally I've always liked seagate, and (appart from the astronomical price) who could go past their fantabulous 750GB monster. Its the biggest drive you can buy, and short of SCSI/SAS its the second fastest on the market (the fastest is by maxtor but it only comes in 150GB and 74GB).

I hope this helps,


Ryan.
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Assisted Solution

by:Visual3DMaya
Visual3DMaya earned 400 total points
ID: 17087654
An Intel dual core processor for multitasking tasks like you said: the Intel Core Duo
http://www.intel.com/products/processor/coreduo/index.htm
A mobo with a lot of memory, 4Gb like the first 2 from newegg http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?
Submit=ENE&N=2000200280+1070621045&Subcategory=280&description=&srchInDesc=&minPrice=&maxPrice=
As much memory, as much applications.
I think almost all nowadays video cards support 2 monitors, bz ex PCI Express GeForce 7900 or GeForce 7950
or something very cheap, GeForce 6800 GS PCI-E too, sli mode.
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by:garycase
garycase earned 600 total points
ID: 17088009
"... I volunteered to build a computer in July ..." ==>  First piece of advice:  Wait until August.

The Pentium-D 950 suggested above is an excellent CPU;  and if you MUST build in July, that's the CPU to use.   HOWEVER ...

... the Conroe chips are set for release on 27 July => and will be available on Newegg, etc. very shortly thereafter (if not that date).   Motherboards with Conroe support should be available at the same time (be SURE the motherboard you buy has Conroe support -- it will NOT be possible to retrofit non-Conroe boards via a simple BIOS upgrade).  Read this:
http://news.com.com/Date+set+for+phase+2+of+Intels+Core+launch/2100-1006_3-6092946.html

(on the other hand, the release of the Conroe chip means you'll be able to buy current Pentium's at "fire sale" prices --> so a Pentium-D 950 might be a good choice if you're a bargain hunter)


There have been several previews of the Conroe chip and reviews by several hardware sites.   These are typical comments (this is from the AnandTech review):

"... AMD still does have some time to surprise us with AM2, but from what we've seen today, they are going to have to do a lot of work to close this gap. "

"... Intel greatly exceeded our expectations. "

"... Going into IDF we expected to see a good showing from Conroe, but leaving IDF, well, now we just can't wait to have it. "

That particular review is here:  http://www.anandtech.com/tradeshows/showdoc.aspx?i=2713&p=1


Note that the Core Duo chips suggested above are NOT Conroe chips => the Conroe's are "Core 2 Duo".

Bottom line:   The Conroe chips will use less power than anything that comes close, and will outperform anything you can buy today ==> and they'll be available in just over 2 weeks !!


Okay ... assuming you're going to wait for Conroe:

(1)  Can't suggest any motherboards yet, because you need to wait for the release of the Conroe motherboards (you can be sure they'll be announced on the release data -- at least by Intel; and probably by Asus and all other major MB makers)

(2)  Get 2GB of memory in a pair of 1GB modules -- personally I always get ECC-capable motherboards and use ECC memory, but that's not a mandatory requirement.    Be sure you only use 2 memory modules (the memory runs faster than with 4).

(3)  Either a top-end nVidia or ATI board will do fine.   Simply buy the best you can in your price range.   The nVidia 7900GT suggested above is fine if you want nVidia.   But ATI boards are fine too -- it's really just a matter of preference  (nVidia does have an edge with most games).
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Author Comment

by:reckon
ID: 17092054
My friend is afraid to buy a new processor--thinks there may be problems. Worth thinking about, though!

Thanks for the suggestions--
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Expert Comment

by:garycase
ID: 17093328
... I can understand the reluctance => in which case I would still suggest waiting until the Conroe is released so you can take advantage of the price reductions on the current CPU's.
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Author Comment

by:reckon
ID: 17095799
This is all great advice, and I just talked my friend into waiting.



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