New PC Specs - Opinions Welcome


B

Bazooka-Joe

Here's what I'm considering assembling for my new main system, listed
in order from most expensive component to least expensive. Any
thoughts on the brands, models, prices and choices listed here? Open
to criticism. See any incompatibilities? Uses will include the usual
(email, web surfing, home budget spreadsheets) as well as high quality
audio playback, movie watching, potentially uses as a home recording
studio for low budget demos. No gaming really. I was thinking
Windows Vista Ultimate (w/Aero of course) and Office 2007 Pro.

Thanks.

:Bazooka-Joe

Video: Asus PCIe GeForce 8800GTS 512M TVout/2DVI ($309)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4Ghz/8M ($308)
Monitor: Acer AL2216Wbd 22" 5ms VGA/DVI Widescrn ($253)
RAM: 4GB (2x2G) PC6400 Crucial ($205)
Case: Antec P182 SE NoPS ATX ($179)
Motherboard: Asus P5K SE Socket 775 ($121)
Power: Antec TPIII Trio 550EPS12V ($106)
Speakers: Creative P7800 7.1 Black ($93)
Input: Logitech Cordlss Dsktop USB Kbd/Mouse ($89)
HDD1: Western Digital 160GB 8M 7200 SATA II ($60)
HDD2: Western Digital 160GB 8M 7200 SATA II ($60)
Sound: Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme PCI-Express ($52)
Printer: Epson Stylus Photo R380 Color Inkjet ($34 after rebate)
Optical: Sony Black 16x40 DVD-ROM ($23)
I/O: Zonnet 3e+1i USB2/2e+1i Firewire PCI ($20)

I'm bringing over my current DL burner that does everything (+RW, -RW,
RAM, DL) but Blu-Ray and my WD IDE 300GB drive I'll put in a USB
enclosure for data backup. The Firewire is for recording storage
later, and I'll buy some special audio input interfaces for instrument/
microphone uses later too. I think the motherboard has an onboard
NIC, if not, I'll get my hands on a good 10/100/1000 LAN card (note
wireless).

Thanks Again!
 
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J

Jan Alter

Bazooka-Joe said:
Here's what I'm considering assembling for my new main system, listed
in order from most expensive component to least expensive. Any
thoughts on the brands, models, prices and choices listed here? Open
to criticism. See any incompatibilities? Uses will include the usual
(email, web surfing, home budget spreadsheets) as well as high quality
audio playback, movie watching, potentially uses as a home recording
studio for low budget demos. No gaming really. I was thinking
Windows Vista Ultimate (w/Aero of course) and Office 2007 Pro.

Thanks.

:Bazooka-Joe

Video: Asus PCIe GeForce 8800GTS 512M TVout/2DVI ($309)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4Ghz/8M ($308)
Monitor: Acer AL2216Wbd 22" 5ms VGA/DVI Widescrn ($253)
RAM: 4GB (2x2G) PC6400 Crucial ($205)
Case: Antec P182 SE NoPS ATX ($179)
Motherboard: Asus P5K SE Socket 775 ($121)
Power: Antec TPIII Trio 550EPS12V ($106)
Speakers: Creative P7800 7.1 Black ($93)
Input: Logitech Cordlss Dsktop USB Kbd/Mouse ($89)
HDD1: Western Digital 160GB 8M 7200 SATA II ($60)
HDD2: Western Digital 160GB 8M 7200 SATA II ($60)
Sound: Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme PCI-Express ($52)
Printer: Epson Stylus Photo R380 Color Inkjet ($34 after rebate)
Optical: Sony Black 16x40 DVD-ROM ($23)
I/O: Zonnet 3e+1i USB2/2e+1i Firewire PCI ($20)

I'm bringing over my current DL burner that does everything (+RW, -RW,
RAM, DL) but Blu-Ray and my WD IDE 300GB drive I'll put in a USB
enclosure for data backup. The Firewire is for recording storage
later, and I'll buy some special audio input interfaces for instrument/
microphone uses later too. I think the motherboard has an onboard
NIC, if not, I'll get my hands on a good 10/100/1000 LAN card (note
wireless).

Thanks Again!

You're clearly going high end on the cpu and video, which sounds reasonable
for the possible for a recording studio.
I would simply consider staying with XP for awhile longer rather than
saddling yourself with VISTA, unless there is something it has that you
can't do without. Vista is excessively memory hungry, overly bloated, and
still buggy.
 
J

johns

That is way too much machine for your needs.
If you are not a gamer, you should consider the
8600 cards. They are fast, but they run much
cooler than the 8800s, and will last much longer.

The 182 case requires cable extenders for
most psupplies to work .. and you will need an
8-pin CPU power connector. Also, I prefer quieter
fans than the ones that come stock in that case.
Still, no doubt that is the best case on the market.
I use Antec Truepower 550 watt .. the cables
almost reach.

ASUS is crap. That is all there is to it. Gigabyte
mobo bundles from Mwave are much more
reliable. GA-P35-DS3L is excellent, and setup
for single video card with plenty of room for
the new X1 cards coming out for digital TV.
Put a modest price DUO with 2 gigs of Kingston
ram in it, and you are in a nice system that will
meet all of your needs.

ACER is crap. Look at the new Viewsonic 24 inch
LCD monitor. It is about $350 and will go lower soon.

3 hard drives is going to fry your box unless you
go with a cooling game box like the Antec 900.
I also have that box, and I'm really pleased with
the quiet fans, and the overall temp of my system.
Also, the 900 sits nicely on my desk ... the 182
is pretty big.

Like the guy said, Vista is still buggy. At least
once a week I fling a fit and swear I'm going to
put XP back on my Vista box.

Concluding: you are mixing game parts with
utility parts which cripple the game parts. You
do not have a balanced system.

johns
 
B

Bazooka-Joe

That is way too much machine for your needs.
If you are not a gamer, you should consider the
8600 cards. They are fast, but they run much
cooler than the 8800s, and will last much longer.

The 182 case requires cable extenders for
most psupplies to work .. and you will need an
8-pin CPU power connector. Also, I prefer quieter
fans than the ones that come stock in that case.
Still, no doubt that is the best case on the market.
I use Antec Truepower 550 watt .. the cables
almost reach.

ASUS is crap. That is all there is to it. Gigabyte
mobo bundles from Mwave are much more
reliable. GA-P35-DS3L is excellent, and setup
for single video card with plenty of room for
the new X1 cards coming out for digital TV.
Put a modest price DUO with 2 gigs of Kingston
ram in it, and you are in a nice system that will
meet all of your needs.

ACER is crap. Look at the new Viewsonic 24 inch
LCD monitor. It is about $350 and will go lower soon.

3 hard drives is going to fry your box unless you
go with a cooling game box like the Antec 900.
I also have that box, and I'm really pleased with
the quiet fans, and the overall temp of my system.
Also, the 900 sits nicely on my desk ... the 182
is pretty big.

Like the guy said, Vista is still buggy. At least
once a week I fling a fit and swear I'm going to
put XP back on my Vista box.

Concluding: you are mixing game parts with
utility parts which cripple the game parts. You
do not have a balanced system.

johns



Pretty much the video card was to help offset the resource hogging
that Vista delves out. That's also why I went 4GB RAM. I was going
to try Vista, mostly just to settle my curiosity about it. I have
some family members that are already on it and I'm the family computer
support guy, so it would be nice to have a system with Vista on it.
I'll probably dual-boot XP and Vista in the end. And, again, most of
my rationale for the higher performing parts was strictly to help
Vista along.

I didn't know about case/power supply issue. Extenders can create all
kinds of excess wire spaghetti. Hopefully I won't be spending much
time inside the case though.

Thanks for the tip on the Viewsonic monitors. That's one thing I
don't know much about. A little spendy, but you say they're coming
down. Good.

When you say 3 drives will "fry" my box, referring to cooling, that's
the one point I'm not sure I completely agree with you on. If you're
referring to the 300gb HD, I'm hooking that up USB just for backup
purposes. Otherwise, I've been running a 2xHDD, 2xOptical
configuration for years in much less ventilated cases with the usual
3-4 case fan configuration and cooling's never been a problem for me.
Of course I'm not running multiple cores now either.

You're not the first guy to tell me that ASUS is "crap" either. I'm
beginning to wonder if there's some validity to that statement
myself. I've never bought one, but I have some gamer friends that say
ASUS is the only way to go pretty much. I've been buying Intel boards
forever and had really good luck with them. Maybe I should stick with
those.

Thanks for the input.

:Bazooka-Joe
 
P

Paul

Bazooka-Joe said:
Here's what I'm considering assembling for my new main system, listed
in order from most expensive component to least expensive. Any
thoughts on the brands, models, prices and choices listed here? Open
to criticism. See any incompatibilities? Uses will include the usual
(email, web surfing, home budget spreadsheets) as well as high quality
audio playback, movie watching, potentially uses as a home recording
studio for low budget demos. No gaming really. I was thinking
Windows Vista Ultimate (w/Aero of course) and Office 2007 Pro.

Thanks.

:Bazooka-Joe

Video: Asus PCIe GeForce 8800GTS 512M TVout/2DVI ($309)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4Ghz/8M ($308)
Monitor: Acer AL2216Wbd 22" 5ms VGA/DVI Widescrn ($253)
RAM: 4GB (2x2G) PC6400 Crucial ($205)
Case: Antec P182 SE NoPS ATX ($179)
Motherboard: Asus P5K SE Socket 775 ($121)
Power: Antec TPIII Trio 550EPS12V ($106)
Speakers: Creative P7800 7.1 Black ($93)
Input: Logitech Cordlss Dsktop USB Kbd/Mouse ($89)
HDD1: Western Digital 160GB 8M 7200 SATA II ($60)
HDD2: Western Digital 160GB 8M 7200 SATA II ($60)
Sound: Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme PCI-Express ($52)
Printer: Epson Stylus Photo R380 Color Inkjet ($34 after rebate)
Optical: Sony Black 16x40 DVD-ROM ($23)
I/O: Zonnet 3e+1i USB2/2e+1i Firewire PCI ($20)

I'm bringing over my current DL burner that does everything (+RW, -RW,
RAM, DL) but Blu-Ray and my WD IDE 300GB drive I'll put in a USB
enclosure for data backup. The Firewire is for recording storage
later, and I'll buy some special audio input interfaces for instrument/
microphone uses later too. I think the motherboard has an onboard
NIC, if not, I'll get my hands on a good 10/100/1000 LAN card (note
wireless).

Thanks Again!

Since you aren't gaming, you could go down a notch or two on the video.
If you're interested in accelerated video playback (where the video
card helps out), then check the specs to see what cards support
the feature. On previous generations, a higher core clock
helped the video playback feature. But check the document
in the second link, to see which cards accelerate which features.

http://www.nvidia.com/page/purevideo_hd.html
http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_43029.html (video accel vs card type)
(doc needs to be updated!)

ATI has similar features, and a range of cards as well. But since they
don't like to make charts, it is a little difficult to summarize what
each of their cards give you.

For the above mentioned video acceleration features, there is also a player
aspect to the feature. (The application has to know the video card has
hardware acceleration features above and beyond the normal ones.)

As you can see here, users spend more time tinkering, than playing movies.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=12287128

You can get some info on the motherboard, here.

http://vip.asus.com/forum/topic.aspx?board_id=1&model=P5K+SE&SLanguage=en-us
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=N82E16813131189

Paul
 
J

johns

Everybody is having a problem cooling their 8800s.
I finally put my in an Antec 900 case, and blew a
120 mm fan directly on it with some success.

If you put 3 hard drives in a box, and they are
close to each other, depending on the make of
the drive, you'll develop bad spots on the disk
due to overheat. Drives lifetime will be cut short
by quite a bit. Again, the Antec 900 gives you
a 120 mm fan blowing directly on the drive bay.
Add an 8800 to that, and you are going to
fry something ... probably the 8800.
An 8600 GT is nice. I have a CAD lab
using those things on P35 mobos, and I
get a benchmark of 140,000 in Aquamark3D.
That is screaming performance, with a cool
running card.

Intel makes good boards. If you get a mobo
bundle from Mwave, and have them assemble
and test it, they give you a good warranty on
the bundle. That is a must. ASUS does not
do that, and I've RMA'd a bunch of out of box
ASUS failures .. and had them send the same
exact mobo back to me .. with the same exact
problem. I will not touch one again. The Gigabyte
mobo bundles have been very stable for me. I
have probaby 100 or more of them in my labs,
and they run forever.

The Antec 182 case is a little tricky to assemble.
The psupply wiring goes under the mobo and
comes up between the back walls of the case.
That means you need cable extenders for most
brands of psupplies. I use the TruePower 550
and only have to extend the 8 pin connector to
the cpu power.

Look at the new pcie-x1 TV cards. They are
very fast, and you won't have problems syncing
audio and video ... like happens with the pci
TV cards which are too slow.

johns
 
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D

Dave

johns said:
That is way too much machine for your needs.
If you are not a gamer, you should consider the
8600 cards. They are fast, but they run much
cooler than the 8800s, and will last much longer.

Wholeheartedly agree!!!

ASUS is crap. That is all there is to it.

Wholeheartedly agree!!!
Gigabyte
mobo bundles from Mwave are much more
reliable.

Whoops, there ya lost me. I could have said that about gigabyte at one time
or another. Too bad asus bought them, though. Asus=gigabyte=asus=crap,
IMHO. For mainboard, look at Intel or DFI or AOpen or Biostar. Some other
good brands, also. But check those four 1st.
GA-P35-DS3L is excellent, and setup
for single video card with plenty of room for
the new X1 cards coming out for digital TV.
Put a modest price DUO with 2 gigs of Kingston
ram in it, and you are in a nice system that will
meet all of your needs.

Sounds like excellent advice, other than the gigabyte/asus mainboard.

ACER is crap.
Look at the new Viewsonic 24 inch
LCD monitor. It is about $350 and will go lower soon.

Whoa!!! For monitors, Acer is just as good as Viewsonic. There are better
brand names than both Acer and Viewsonic, but comparing Acer and
Viewsonic...they are identical, in terms of quality. You can't say one or
the other is "crap", unless you think that they are both crap. They are
both pretty good, but not the best. For better quality, go NEC, for just
one good example. But the OP should be happy with either Acer or Viewsonic.
They are both good.

3 hard drives is going to fry your box unless you
go with a cooling game box like the Antec 900.

Nonsense. As many hard drives as I run, my wife's box should be erupting
like a volcano in it's cheapie raidmax case. (she liked it) I outfitted it
with some quiet cooling fans and an extremely quiet power supply. You can
barely hear it running, and it stays nice and cool with four drives running.

Like the guy said, Vista is still buggy. At least
once a week I fling a fit and swear I'm going to
put XP back on my Vista box.

Man, I can't agree with you less, here. Nothing wrong with Vista that I've
found. But I'm curious why you chose to run just one OS? I've got three
running on this box. Two are microsoft products, BTW.

Concluding: you are mixing game parts with
utility parts which cripple the game parts. You
do not have a balanced system.

johns

I don't see that, necessarily. From a quick look-see at the OP specs, the
video card is incredible overkill, and too much RAM definitely (but that
never hurt anything). Basically, he could spend a little less money and be
just as happy, given his stated uses for the system. I'd probably advise
the OP to spend $200 MAX on the video card (aim for less than $150, in fact)
and start with one stick of 2GB RAM. Other than that, it looks like a
pretty decent system, even if he keeps the Asus boards. I have strong
anti-Asus opinions, but I know many disagree with me on that. So I can't
fault the OP for choosing the Asus branded stuff. He did a lot better than
most in choosing components. Gotta give him credit for that. :) -Dave
 
D

Dave

Don't buy a lot of RAM for Vista. Vista maxes out (performance wise) at
1.5GB. No, I didn't pull that number out of a hat. Vista says so. :) I'd
suggest you start with one stick of 2GB. Just because I've never heard of a
1.5GB stick of RAM. :) In the unlikely event your system is ever slowed
down due to lack of RAM, you can always toss another identical stick in
later.

You don't need high-end hardware to run Vista. A DX10 video card is
suggested (by me at least) for Aero, and any current processor of at least
2.4GHz clock speed and 1.5GB of RAM. That should do it. Your specs you
listed earlier were fine, other than too much RAM and video card was severe
overkill, even for Aero. :)

Oh, and Acer monitors are fine, just as good as Viewsonic. 3 hard drives
won't fry your box. Try to leave some space between them in the case,
however.

You should definitely stick with Intel. If you have to choose another brand
of mainboard, you should DEFINITELY seek advice from someone who has the
opinion that asus is crap. Not that you can't get good advice from an asus
fanatic. It's just that, those who know asus well enough to steer clear of
them, tend to be WAY more knowledgeable than the average hardware "expert".

I've also had really good luck with Intel brand mainboards, and several
other brands of mainboards. You should stick with what you know. Go
ntel. -Dave
 
B

Bazooka-Joe

Wholeheartedly agree!!!


Wholeheartedly agree!!!


Whoops, there ya lost me.  I could have said that about gigabyte at one time
or another.  Too bad asus bought them, though.  Asus=gigabyte=asus=crap,
IMHO.  For mainboard, look  at Intel or DFI or AOpen or Biostar.  Some other
good brands, also.  But check those four 1st.


Sounds like excellent advice, other than the gigabyte/asus mainboard.




Whoa!!!  For monitors, Acer is just as good as Viewsonic.  There are better
brand names than both Acer and Viewsonic, but comparing Acer and
Viewsonic...they are identical, in terms of quality.  You can't say one or
the other is "crap", unless you think that they are both crap.  They are
both pretty good, but not the best.  For better quality, go NEC, for just
one good example.  But the OP should be happy with either Acer or Viewsonic.
They are both good.




Nonsense.  As many hard drives as I run, my wife's box should be erupting
like a volcano in it's cheapie raidmax case.  (she liked it)  I outfitted it
with some quiet cooling fans and an extremely quiet power supply.  You can
barely hear it running, and it stays nice and cool with four drives running.


Man, I can't agree with you less, here.  Nothing wrong with Vista that I've
found.  But I'm curious why you chose to run just one OS?  I've got three
running on this box.  Two are microsoft products, BTW.





I don't see that, necessarily.  From a quick look-see at the OP specs, the
video card is incredible overkill, and too much RAM definitely (but that
never hurt anything).  Basically, he could spend a little less money andbe
just as happy, given his stated uses for the system.  I'd probably advise
the OP to spend $200 MAX on the video card (aim for less than $150, in fact)
and start with one stick of 2GB RAM.  Other than that, it looks like a
pretty decent system, even if he keeps the Asus boards.  I have strong
anti-Asus opinions, but I know many disagree with me on that.  So I can't
fault the OP for choosing the Asus branded stuff.  He did a lot better than
most in choosing components.  Gotta give him credit for that.  :)  -Dave



Thanks guys. Lots of good options and opinions here. Ultimately, I
think I'll start with 2GB RAM (probably Crucial?) and I'll stick with
my trusty Intel boards. I'm glad to hear more people say ASUS is
crap. I've suspected as much for years but never tried it
firsthand.

And yeah, since everybody unanimously agreed I went overkill on the
video card I'm going to be looking at the 8600's instead of the
8800's. But I'm sticking with my Acer monitor.

I'm not sure where everyone got the "three Hard drives" thing from.
As stated in the OP, I'm only running two internally, the other will
be USB/Firewire.

Any general opinions or feelings about Western Digital? Most
everybody I know likes them. IN fact, they love WD, swear by them and
won't buy anything else. But I've also run into 4 or 5 people now
that HATE WD. Those people say WD is the last brand they'd buy and
curiously enough, they recommended sticking with IBM/Hitachi for Hard
drives.

Thoughts on that?

Thanks!

:Bazooka-Joe
 
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D

Dave

Any general opinions or feelings about Western Digital? Most
everybody I know likes them. IN fact, they love WD, swear by them and
won't buy anything else. But I've also run into 4 or 5 people now
that HATE WD. Those people say WD is the last brand they'd buy and
curiously enough, they recommended sticking with IBM/Hitachi for Hard
drives.

Thoughts on that?

Thanks!

:Bazooka-Joe


(my reply)

IBM/Hitachi hit some rough spots a while ago, so they got kind of a bad rep
(undeserved) for premature failures. In fact, some started calling the
deskstar line "deathstar".

But WD hit some rough spots also.

You will find people who say that WD or IBM/Hitachi are crap, just because
they were unlucky enough to buy those brands when they were experiencing
higher-than-usual failure rates.

Over the long run however, both are VERY good brands of hard drives, and a
safe bet for any build. I'd advise you to look at IBM/Hitachi. NOTHING
wrong with WD, but (at least when I've been looking) I've found some pretty
good deals on IBM/Hitachi, in terms of cost per gigabyte, and they are just
as good as WD. -Dave
 

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