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Chikara
14-09-2009, 03:13 PM
Hi all

A few months ago I asked for some advice about buying a new PC. At the time that was still a few months away from happening (original post here (http://forums.pcworld.co.nz/showthread.php?t=101261)) but it still gave me a really good idea of what was out there at that time.

Well, now the few months has passed, I'm pretty much ready now to buy (in the next few weeks). I will be in Singapore then, on a 18month relocation for work, so will buy the components there. But I'd still like everyone's advice here about good/bad components.
I was wondering if peoples thoughts had changed since their original advice, seeing as two months is a long time in the PC hardware world!

Here were my original requirements copied from the first post:

My requirements are:
- Will be doing audio and some video editing
- Will need lots of storage space, as I have a number of audio concert recordings I want to store on HD in .wav format (but, it doesn't matter if these are stored on seperate external drive or not)
- Need something that will have a good quality sound card capable of recording line-in signals with excellent good quality. (Also, quite like in the future to experiment with plugging my guitar into the PC and recording some stuff that way. I'm just an amateur though)
- Also quite like to play games on it. Don't necessarily need the top of the range, absolute best performance, but something that will be able to comfortable handle modern games

The consensus last time seemed to be something like:

CPU: Q9400 or i7
RAM: 4gb Corsair DDR2 1066
HDD: 2x1TB Western Digitals in RAID1
HDD2: 1x500gb WD
DVD: Asus/Liteon
GFX: 4870
MOBO: P5Q Pro
PSU: Corsair HX620 620W Modular Power Supply
OS: Win 7 64bit

Any different opinions now??

Thanks :)

Blam
14-09-2009, 03:27 PM
i5 rather than an i7. The slowest i5 is faster than the i7 920....

You could swap for a 4890....but other then that I can't see any other changes you should make...

Get any i5 mobo, Asus or Gigabyte..

Blam

nofam
14-09-2009, 04:23 PM
Is your 500Gb WD drive for your O/S?

You could look at putting a smaller Raptor drive in there instead, or even an Intel SSD?

And if you need a lot of storage, a NAS box connected by eSATA might be an option too?

Chikara
14-09-2009, 04:37 PM
Is your 500Gb WD drive for your O/S?

You could look at putting a smaller Raptor drive in there instead, or even an Intel SSD?

And if you need a lot of storage, a NAS box connected by eSATA might be an option too?

Yeah, 500GB would be for OS plus other installed applications. The other HD's in RAID would be purely for data.
I don't know if SSD's are cheap enough yet for the benefit of them, and the capacity is still quite low. I won't be doing any hardcore gaming so I'm not too worried about squeezing the last fractions of seconds out of it. Maybe that can be a future upgrade when prices drop more.

Re the NAS, what would be the pros / cons of that, compared to the HD's in RAID setup? I'm thinking the RAID setup would be quicker and more convinient, and also everything is automatically backed up..what would the advantages of NAS be???

SolMiester
14-09-2009, 04:55 PM
Is your 500Gb WD drive for your O/S?

You could look at putting a smaller Raptor drive in there instead, or even an Intel SSD?

And if you need a lot of storage, a NAS box connected by eSATA might be an option too?

Yeah, I would of said the same....nice 4 drive radi 5 nas box, with print servers etc....ooooh

pctek
14-09-2009, 04:58 PM
GFX: 4870




ASUS or Gigabyte.

Chikara
14-09-2009, 05:21 PM
Yeah, I would of said the same....nice 4 drive radi 5 nas box, with print servers etc....ooooh

So what would the cost of NAS be compared to 2xHD setup in RAID? And the advantages?? I've not used NAS before so don't really know the pros and cons of it...

Chikara
14-09-2009, 05:38 PM
i5 rather than an i7. The slowest i5 is faster than the i7 920....

You could swap for a 4890....but other then that I can't see any other changes you should make...

Get any i5 mobo, Asus or Gigabyte..

Blam

Blam, was just looking at some prices on a Singapore website...
Core i5 - 750 2.66Ghz 1333/8M LGA1156 SGD $324

It's the only i5 listed. How do you reckon that one would go?

Blam
14-09-2009, 09:30 PM
Blam, was just looking at some prices on a Singapore website...
Core i5 - 750 2.66Ghz 1333/8M LGA1156 SGD $324

It's the only i5 listed. How do you reckon that one would go?

It would suit you perfectly. Should handle anything you throw at it easily!


So what would the cost of NAS be compared to 2xHD setup in RAID? And the advantages?? I've not used NAS before so don't really know the pros and cons of it...

NAS=Network attached storage. It'll mean you'll be able to have everything in a central location, and if you have other PCs/Laptops they'll be able to accesss the data on it.

Blam

Chikara
14-09-2009, 09:45 PM
NAS=Network attached storage. It'll mean you'll be able to have everything in a central location, and if you have other PCs/Laptops they'll be able to accesss the data on it.

Blam

Once I move in, it will probably just be me in my apartment, at least initially.. so only one PC needs to access the data. Would you still suggest NAS over the traditional set-up? Why??

pctek
14-09-2009, 10:30 PM
The slowest i5 is faster than the i7 920....


http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/801/13

Core i7 will continue to be the CPU of choice for the professional user working with rendering and image processing and the new socket 1156 promises to give far more options of CPU and motherboard models to choose from in the future.

Core i5 provides a better cost/benefit ratio than Core i7. It is true that Core i7 is faster than Core i5 even when we compare a Core i7 and a Core i5 running at the same clock rate as we did in our review, thanks to the Hyper-Threading technology that makes programs to “see” eight CPU cores instead of “only” four, but this difference in performance will be only worthwhile to professionals because a faster processing means more work done in less time, and thus more jobs for their clients and hence more money. We don’t see why a regular user would pay at least 45% more on a CPU that won’t give that much performance increase in return.

Both Core i7 800-series processors support hyperthreading the same as their Core i7 900-series brethren. The Core i5 750 does not-its four physical cores are all that will appear in your operating system's task manager.

Blam
14-09-2009, 11:57 PM
http://anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=3634


For $196 you're getting a processor that's faster than the Core i7 920. I'm not taking into account motherboard prices either, which are anywhere from $50 - $100 cheaper for LGA-1156 boards. I don't believe LGA-1366 is dead, but there's absolutely no reason to buy anything slower than a 965 if you're going that route.

FIAT LUX
15-09-2009, 03:28 AM
With respect to the WD harddrives then I can only agree that WD is a good choice , but drop the "go green" here , atleast for the boot drive , and go with Caviar Black. With respect to Caviar Black then the 640GB and 500GB might be faster than the 750GB and the 1TB as internal transfer speed is lower on the 750GB and 1TB plus they are 2 seconds slower in wakeup.
Money wise the "sweet spot" seems to be at 1TB at the moment for Caviar Black.
(The 2TB got twice the case of the other models + greater internal transfer speed , but is up in price + slow in wakeup)
WD CB Ref. 1. (http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?driveid=733)
WD CB Ref. 2. (http://products.wdc.com/library/specsheet/eng/2879-701276.pdf)

SolMiester
15-09-2009, 09:45 AM
Once I move in, it will probably just be me in my apartment, at least initially.. so only one PC needs to access the data. Would you still suggest NAS over the traditional set-up? Why??

NAS is good if you what constant file access without the worry of having it attached to your pc. Many gamers like to clock cpu etc, run the PC out of spec so to speak...A share of drives attached to your router is a great idea, with no power fluctuations, boot up's, hung PC cycled etc.....its just a better setup than having all your storage in the pc...

Chikara
17-09-2009, 12:08 AM
So I'll probably look at the i5 750, or maybe even the i7 860 or i7 870 if they are a reasonable price (which I doubt!)

Any decent motherboards that people would recommend for those CPU's? I know Asus or Gigabyte are good brands, but any particular models? A quick Google search doesn't seem to reveal a lot by way or recommendations...

Blam
17-09-2009, 12:47 AM
The i7 860 are around $500...

ASUS P7P55D LE or Gigabyte P55 UD4 (motherboard)

Chikara
17-09-2009, 06:14 PM
Hi again, thanks for the suggestions and feedback so far. After reading people's thoughts here and in other threads, and doing some more research, here is what I am currently thinking. Looking to order it next week.
Would love your thoughts on if this looks good or bad, or if I have missed anything, or if there's any obvious bottlenecks or incompatibilities:

Case: Whatever, i'm not fussed as long as it all fits
CPU: i5 750 or i7 860 (will confirm when I see final prices)
MB: Asus P7P55D LE
HD: WD Caviar Black 640GB (for OS and applications)
HD: WD Caviar Green 1.5TB x2 (RAID1 for data)
PSU: Corsair 650W
GPU: Asus or Gigabyte 4870 or 4890
RAM: Corsair 8GB DDR2
DVD/CD: Asus or Liteon, not fussed, any model that can read/burn CD/DVD
Monitor: Viewsonic 22" VX 2260
Keyboard: Logitech something with backlighting - wired & USB
Mouse: Logitech wired USB, not sure model
Speakers: Logitech X-530
OS: Win 7 64bit (will run Win 7 64bit RC meantime)

I decided against NAS, as I 've never used it before and couldn't really see the benefits for me as a single user, compared to the traditional setup above...but again I am prepared to be convinced otherwise!
Also, I decided agains a SSD, at this stage I don't think it is worth it yet - maybe if prices drop in the future and capacity increases, I can swap out the Caviar HDD then.

I'm probably going to spend a bit more than I originally planned, but that's okay - my old system has lasted a lot longer than I planned, so my logic to justify it, is the money I've saved by not upgrading earlier, can go towards this now :)

Some final questions please:
- Have I missed anything?
- I'm not planning on overclocking to start with (maybe later on) - should I get any extra cooling to start with?
- As all this is new hardware, I'm assuming there shouldn't be any problems with getting 64bit drivers?
- Is it worth getting DDR3 RAM? Or just stick with DDR2? Also what speed RAM is best?
- There seem to be about 5 variations of that motherboard (LE, Pro, Deluxe, etc etc). To be honest, apart from the cost I can't see a heck of a lot of difference..is the LE fine for my needs?
- Later on, I may get a soundcard. I do a lot of audio recording through line-in (converting old concert recordings on cassette via line in) so if the quality isn't what I want with the on-board sound, I'll but a dedicated sound card later. Any problems with doing this, with this setup?
- Also later on, I may get a TV tuner..looks like I will have sufficient room for expansion, including the above, am I right?

Thanks in advance :)

Speedy Gonzales
17-09-2009, 06:25 PM
The drivers for the mobo should be on the ASUS site. However, depending on what else youre going to connect to it, check the manufacturer's site, BEFORE you buy whatever. Even if its new, it doesnt mean everyone is going to make 64 bit drivers for it

Depends what the mobo takes (if you get the Asus P7P55D LE). It looks like this mobo only supports DDR3 (not DDR2 ram). So, you'll have to get DDR 3. The Pro and deluxe probably have extras like SPDIF digital out / firewire or E-sata as well. Depends if you want or need these

hueybot3000
17-09-2009, 06:59 PM
definitely go the i7 860, thats what im gettin in a couple of weeks with the Asus P7P55D EVO

Blam
17-09-2009, 08:26 PM
I decided against NAS, as I 've never used it before and couldn't really see the benefits for me as a single user, compared to the traditional setup above...but again I am prepared to be convinced otherwise!
Also, I decided agains a SSD, at this stage I don't think it is worth it yet - maybe if prices drop in the future and capacity increases, I can swap out the Caviar HDD then.

I'm probably going to spend a bit more than I originally planned, but that's okay - my old system has lasted a lot longer than I planned, so my logic to justify it, is the money I've saved by not upgrading earlier, can go towards this now :)

Some final questions please:
- Have I missed anything?
- I'm not planning on overclocking to start with (maybe later on) - should I get any extra cooling to start with?
- As all this is new hardware, I'm assuming there shouldn't be any problems with getting 64bit drivers?
- Is it worth getting DDR3 RAM? Or just stick with DDR2? Also what speed RAM is best?
- There seem to be about 5 variations of that motherboard (LE, Pro, Deluxe, etc etc). To be honest, apart from the cost I can't see a heck of a lot of difference..is the LE fine for my needs?
- Later on, I may get a soundcard. I do a lot of audio recording through line-in (converting old concert recordings on cassette via line in) so if the quality isn't what I want with the on-board sound, I'll but a dedicated sound card later. Any problems with doing this, with this setup?
- Also later on, I may get a TV tuner..looks like I will have sufficient room for expansion, including the above, am I right?

Thanks in advance :)

Here's a link that has info on upgrading RC to RTM, when the time comes:
http://www.askvg.com/how-to-upgrade-from-windows-7-rc-to-rtm-build/

Don't bother with cooling if you don't intend to overclock now, by the time you do decide to move to OC'ing coolers will be cheaper and better.

Most of the hardware will probably work fine, as 64bit driver support is improving(ever since vista)

Get DDR3 because:

1) Its really not that much more expensive that DDR2
2) Your motherboard only supports DDR3
3) i7 is made for dual channel DDR3 memory...works best with it

As for differences between the mobo versions, heres one's you might want to know

-LE doesn't have firewire, and has one less SATA port
-LE has only one PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, the other runs at only x4 and will be slower if you decide to go with crossfire later on
-LE supports crossfire only-no SLI
-Doesn't have a TPM(Security stuff) and hardware overclocking(don't worry, you can still OC)

IMO get the Pro if its only little bit extra, you'll get better GFX performance and you'll also get firewire...but if its alot more then stick with the LE

The Asus mobo will easily handle both in the PCI slots. Plenty of room!

Blam

Chikara
17-09-2009, 11:52 PM
Great, thanks for the tips! There's always such good advice on these forums! :)

Any other comments on the configuration, or does the rest of it look okay?

FIAT LUX
18-09-2009, 12:44 AM
Any other comments on the configuration,?

Only one :
Rather than using internal "HD: WD Caviar Green 1.5TB x2 (RAID1 for data)" you might as well place one of the Caviar Green on external USB or something like that and then just keep a copy to the drive manually - then in case of breakdown you'll have easy access to the data.
But this is simply a matter of preference, taste and style...
(Sorry got no more time - needs to go to the doctor...)

FIAT LUX
18-09-2009, 03:35 AM
Reason for what was written in previous post is that I'm always suspicious to what will happen if a raid breaks down and also always suspicious as to if the harddrive interpretation is absolutely 100% exactly the same from one type/brand/generation/whatever of harddrive controller to the other (a not absolutely 100% similar interpretation could in theory lead to data loss or data corruption if moving the drive or something like that) .
This is a quite "old-fashioned" attitude to things - but when one have seen as much weird computer stuff, through the years , as I have then one tends to get attitudes like that though others might , to put it mildly , have a not very understanding attitude to my attitudes, ways and approaches......