build/buy awesome graphics desktop, budget $1000

hi there

i have a client that would like a "really good" desktop for graphics and stuff.  budget is about $1000 not including the monitors

it will primarily be used for photoshop, some video editing, and eventually he wants to get into learning CGI animation.
he also wants to be able to play "online games", high end graphics types not yahoo scrabble.

open to suggestions on building it part by part, or buying a brand name already made...
he's not sure if he wants pc or mac, so he wan's pc - we wont even consider mac for the purpose of this question

points go to the most complete answer, if building it, need links and prices, briefly 'why' that part is great... or link to the best premade that fits the bill
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B HAsked:
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hi! there... to perform Graphics stuff you need to have focus on following areas of hardware.

Processor/CPU: Though AMD was the market leader for graphical use the Intel i series has snatched the top position from AMD.
I will recommend i7 for your specific need. (A brief technical Comparison)
Reason: Its quadracore with hyper threading enabled, in essence it will work as 8 independent processors on your system!

Memory/RAM:  It is very crucial component if you wish to perform multiple tasks at the same time, In graphical editing many processes are required to be active at the same time thereby increasing the dependence on Paging! the bigger the Memory the more amount of data is directly resident on fast RAM chips and lesser on slow HardDisk pages.
I recommend memory atleast more than 4GB. 6GB will be great!

Graphics/Video Card: Though we have selected a powerful processor on PC world today, yet those processors are not designed/engineered well to handle graphical calculations. I recommend either nvidia or ATI GPU with atleast 1GB dedicated memory.

Hard Disk Space: Ofcourse you need to have space to save the voluminous graphics file, this though can be updated later, You should go for HDD with SATA connection and should be atleast 750 GB or 1TB. Prefer Drives with 7200 revolutions per minute (rpm) for faster access when clubbed with SAT connection.

As per the our requirements i have configured a Dell Studio XPS 9000 Desktop
which has slightly over shooted your budget by $79 .
The summary of specification is as follows
(if you wish to get the cost under $1000 just customize it for another ATI Graphical card. leaving the rest of the specifications intact.)

This is the shortest and brief being the efficient explanation of building an ideal Graphical System.

hope this helps,



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           The Summary of Specification link wont work please find the attached pdf file for details of customized specification as per your requirement!

B HAuthor Commented:
this is real nice - the only question i have is ... some sites out there are saying the g220 video card really sucks for games... does it make up for that in business graphic editing?
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I agree with an i7-920 cpu, but for a gaming video card I would choose an Radeon 5830, as the Radeons are currently better values in their respective price points.  The 5xxx series are DirectX 11 capable.  For business graphics editing, you don't need a very powerful card.  1TB hard drives are pretty much standard these days, but there was a  Seagate 1TB model that had a defect.
B HAuthor Commented:
i love that radeon 5830 but sadly there's no way i can fit that into the client's budget :/

Mohammed RahmanCommented:
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Processor Cooling
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4 GB [2 GB X2] DDR3-1333 Memory Module - Corsair or Major Brand

Video Card
ATI Radeon HD 5850 - 1GB - Single Card ** You can also go with Nvidia 470 so that you can add another card in future in SLI (the MOBO is SLI not Crossfire)

[SLI] MSI P55-SD60

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As of now, trust me 4 GB memory will be more than sufficient. And an i5 can do a lot. You may take i7 and it will shoot the budget, but google a little, will your client literally need 8 cores ? Most of the people go for 12GB memory and i7 and when you check the memory consumed during gameplay at full video settings, it may not cross 4GB, leaving remaining 8GB a WASTE.. and the processor may not shoot 80% (MAXIMUM).. my opinion would be to go with a mid range processor and 4gig ram and a goof VIDEO card, because that matters a lot in rendering (software part) and 3D gaming.
happy PC building :)
B HAuthor Commented:
that's an intersting setup there, have links and or prices?
If the HD5830 is too expensive, there's the HD5770 or the older HD4850.  However, you could get the equivalent cpu power with the i7-860 and get a less expensive P55 chipset motherboard, such as a Gigabyte P55A-UD3  Apply the savings toward a better video card, which is really the heart of a gaming machine.
hi! I said in dell website you have the option for following GPUs

  1. nVidia® GeForce® 310 512M GDDR3 [Included in Price]
  2. nVidia GeForce GT 220, 1024MB           [Add $50.00]
  3. ATI Radeon HD 5450 1GB DDR3          [Add $50.00] Support DirectX11 (review)
  4. nVidia GeForce GTS 240 1024MB         [Add $130.00]
  5. nVidia GeForce GTX 260 1792MB [Add $230.00](May  delay your Studio XPS 9000 ship date )
  6. ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5      [Add $330.00] Support DirectX11 (review)
I would suggest with your cost constraints you should go with Radeon 5450, its a decent buy for the Budget you have. Gaming requires more aggressive GPUs than Graphics development. You wont feel any lag or performance issue with these configuration!

I have replaced the GPU with Readon and the new quotation is included in the pdf file, estimate is still $1079. I have also configured one system with i5 processor if you really wish to bring down the cost., its $1028.

I strongly recommend you to get a PC assembled by some branded Company like Dell, which have a good after sales network. You can build your own at you home by assembling part by part but it will almost cost the same and you will have warranty for the individual components! moreover the Dell PC comes with Windows 7 pre- installed hence you get it at a subsidized price!  

B HAuthor Commented:
i think have what i need - thanks very much for the input

it'll be fun to look back at this thread in 3 years when this whole configuration is $200 too :)
A similar configuration at iBuyPower cost you around $970, again its without any OS. Moreover i believe Dell is more reliable in terms of after sales technical support! Please take a look at the attached file.

B HAuthor Commented:
i chose this answer because it conformed perfectly to the requirements of the original question, including links and prices.  thanks for the excellent answer
ha ha very true ! at this technological pace & competition  i believe the current configuration may get obsolete sooner than 3 years !
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