Answers&Advice Needed: Proposed Build<$1000 for Photography/Video Editing/Casual Gaming

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veeohhpee
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Joined: 02/04/2011
Posts: 6

Hello all....Will cut right down to the chase:

Intro: I'm a photographer/video editor/casual gamer/casual computer hardware enthusiast

Software Needs: Gonna be running full versions of Photoshop CS5,Lightroom 3, Premiere, as far as games go: I prefer MMOs and strategy games(don't do much FPS cause i get motion sickness...geeky i know)

My Goal with this Build: My ultimate goal is to multi task-the hell out of programs: I would like to be able to edit video/photos/have MMO's running/and play some redundant online poker(Hey! who doesn't like making money while rendering?!) while not sacrificing performance and having full upgradability for the next 3-5 years all at a cost of <1000$ initial startup build budget.

Components that matter to me most (listed from most important to least important)

1. Motherboard-I need a motherboard that has all the features and knick knacks that i will need to connect/run/upgrade an ever changing media market for the next 3-5 years.

2. CPU-I need a CPU that will be able to handle multi tasking not just now but in the years to come.

2. PSU-I rank the power supply tied with CPU cause I believe that many hardware and software trouble shooting questions can be linked to a subpar PSU

3. Graphics Card-Much like the CPU I need a Videosetup that will not only be able to handle multi tasking programs now-but also in the years to come

4. Case-I need a case that will upgrade with me in the following years-as well as great initial cooling setup...I could care less about looks rather I switch my focus to functionality.

5. Memory-Gonna Need above average DDR3

6. Hard Drive-Least of my concerns for the initial build simply cause I plan to add SSD's in a few months.

veeohhpee
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Joined: 02/04/2011
Posts: 6

My Proposed Build:

Motherboard: Asus Crosshair IV Formula: Socket AM3, AMD 890FX
CPU: PhenomIIx6 Black Edition 1090t Thuban 3.2
PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro M 850w
Graphics: Radeon 6870HD (1)
Case: NZXT-HADES M-ATX
HD: Western Digital Caviar Black (WD1002FAEX) 1TB, SATA
6.0 gb/s, 7200rpm, 64mb cache
Memory: Patriot Viper Xtreme Series Division 2
(DDR3 1866MHZ 8GB,2X4 PC3-1500 9-11-9-27)

My Questions about each:

Motherboard: I'm pretty positive this is the MOBO I want to start out with. Has everything I need, I know I can upgrade components piece by piece in the years to come, and I trust the ASUS name with my previous build. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated though.

CPU: I went with the B.E PhenIIx6 1090T mainly because I want to dabble with OC'ng. I'm by no means an expert but rather a casual puter hardware enthusiast and this would be my first attempt in
doing so. My build research has led me to believe that this CPU paired with the Crosshair IV would make this process virtually painless and mistake free.
My questions: Is this the right CPU for my needs? Will it be able to handle the multi tasking that I ask of it not only now but in the years to come? Do I even need a Hexacore for my needs or would a quadcore suffice thus saving money??

PSU: Figured I would need a PSU that would not only be handle my current power needs but also future power needs which is why I went with the Modular 850W Silent Pro 80+.
My questions: Should I consider another brand/model that may have an even better bang for buck? Should I consider 1000w+ for future power needs such as running a 2nd graphics card? Or will the 850w suffice?

GCard: From my build research it appears that the Radeon HD6870 1GB is the best bang for my buck card that I can currently invest in. I love the Eyefinity idea of possibly chain linking screens which I think is very useful for my multi tasking needs. And being able to upgrade later to a 2nd one only excites me more.
My questions: Is this card the best bang for your buck card setup that i could currently invest in for my current needs? Would I be better off in investing in an older 2gb single card? Or will a future 6870 1GB addition suffice for future digital media say 4-5 years down the road? Or should i consider a 6900 series instead?

Memory: I know I need fast DDR3 memory and I believe 8GB would work decently for my current needs.
My questions: Is 1866mhz an appropriate speed for my needs? Could I save money with say a 1333mhz without sacrificing much performance? Do I need more then 1866 for when I dabble with OC'ng? Is there a HUGE difference in brands?

Case: Wanted a mid case with good cable management, great airflow, and enough room to upgrade for future improvements such as water cooling, etc. The HADES seem to fit the bill in all of these categories. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Hard Drive: My first future upgrade to this proposed build will be SSD's setup in RAID. For now I believe this 1TB 7.2k rpm, 6.0GB/s, 64mb cache will do for starters. Once I upgrade to run my hardcore media software on the SSD's the 1tb rotary will do nicely for media storage. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Final Thoughts:

If you have read this far I thank you for your patience and help. As stated before I'm only a casual computer hardware enthusiast. I've only built one system previously back in 2006 and look forward to this build and finaly dabbling around with OC'ng. I'm not much of a spender which is why I wanted to keep this build right around the $1000 +/- $150 range but i did want to ensure quality multimedia and multi tasking performance and leave room for single purchase upgrades in order to stay on top of an ever changing digital media technology market. I look forward to the experts' feedback and thank you again for your patience with this post.

GraysonPeddie
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What resolution do you plan to run the games on? What monitor do you currently have and what's the native supported resolution for the monitor? I'm thinking that an AMD Radeon HD 5770 will do just fine for MMOs and strategy games unless you want serious graphics performance out of a video card.

The Phenom II 1090T will work just fine for that price. You could probably do a search in the Internet, as I don't think the 6870 could replace the 5770.

As for the power supply, the 5770 should only require 10 amps in a +12v rail. Plus, add in another 10 amps for CPU. With that, you'll probably want to add more of the amps for hard drives, RAM, fans, etc. and you'll probably end up to about 5 amps total, so, I'd suggest you go with Thermaltake TR-380P 380W PSU unless you want to go with a 450 watt version of the power supply if you later plan to upgrade to 6970 and that you have enough money for it. The 380 watt version should work well with a GeForce 8800 and that I think a 5770/6870 will probably be okay, unless you want to overclock your CPU and GPU.

For RAM, you will do well with 8GB of RAM.

For motherboard, what about this one:
GIGABYTE GA-870A-UD3 AM3 AMD 870 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

You'll save about $120 to $130 since I don't think you'll need 3 of the PCIe x16 2.0 slots. The motherboard I linked above provides just one PCIe x16 slot since you'll only use one video card, but it also provides PCIe x16, although it runs at x4. It's as good as a Formula IV.

I hope I can be of help, unless others can provide you a better suggestion than mine.

HTPC: AMD Athlon X2 4050e CPU with 780G ATX motherboard running Windows 8 DP (4GB) and Ubuntu; Server: AMD AII X2 240e CPU with 880G-based ATX motherboard running Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS (8GB)

2 pairs of Insignia NS-B2111s (front/rear), Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker, and 12" Velodyne Sub

Just ordered HP Pavilion dv7-6165us from QVC. Will have it by next Friday.

veeohhpee
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Joined: 02/04/2011
Posts: 6

Grayson...thank you kindly for your suggestions I appreciate it. However, in regards to the motherboard, I was thinking that a CrossfireX supported MOBO would be more beneficial due to upgradability in the next 3-5years. With all of the multitasking that I plan on doing with full versions of Photo/Video Editing software and the ever changing media/graphics technology market I figured if I fall short on performance with one 6870 then an additional one will not be a pain in the rear end upgrade.

I'm no expert so please lemme know if I'm wrong in thinking that the GA-870-UD3 does not support CrossfireX. Lastly, maybe I won't even need multiple Graphics Cards in the next 3-5 years. If that's the case will the 5770 support my current needs of multitasking-Will it be able to run CS5,Premeire, WoW(at above average settings), and other various programs while watching youtube to get my jollys for the day all FULLY OPEN operating under a 64 bit Windows OS?

Thank you kindly once again for your advice..it is appreciated.

hnkftalnot
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Joined: 10/14/2010
Posts: 262

You're right, 870 chipsets do not support crossfire. 880G, 890GX and 890FX do support crossfire, and especially the 880G is also quite cheap so it may be a good choice. 890FX has extra bandwidth (42 PCIe lanes instead of 22) for heavy crossfire setups, but it's a doubt if you would ever notice any difference, so it may not be worth the extra costs.
880G and 890GX have integrated graphics but you can ignore that since you'll be using your own graphics cards.

As for the GPU it seems you want to run heavy graphical apps all together, and while the 5770 may be able to run it fine on one screen, at multiple screens it may not make you happy. A 6870 is a better choice and they scale very well in crossfire, meaning that getting another one will give a huge performance increase. But don't wait too long with the second one since stocks move quickly with graphics cards and you can't count on it that another 6870 will be readily available and affordable in the 4-5 year timespan you mention.

More important, in 4 years the graphics card market will look a lot different with new technologies and possibilities, and at that point you will be better off getting a new one (8000 series perhaps??, yeah, it goes that quick :p) that will not be compatible at all with your "old" 6870 by then. So as a bottomline, I think you should aim for what you need right now and upgrade it as time (and need) progresses. In my opinion, 3+ years of longevity on graphics cards is a myth when you care about new software/hardware technologies, and it's also the most upgraded part of a computer.

RAM: when you're looking into OC'ing, get the fastest (MHz) RAM you can find at the lowest timings (Cas latency) and lowest voltage. Those last two will give you the most headroom while OC'ing because you can increase the voltage at higher speeds, and when that isn't enough to stabilize the RAM you can increase the timings and still stay below the timings of cheaper RAM sets at the same speed. I can't recommend a good DDR3 set that overclocks well (since I have no personal experience with DDR3), but these are the things you should look for when you plan to overclock it. Let this be a starting point so you don't get fooled by high MHz with poor timings and voltages: High speed (MHz) doesn't mean much when timings aren't considered, like 1333 MHz at Cl 9 is quite poor.

I agree fully on the PSU part; 850 Watts is really not needed, you would do fine with a 550 or even 600 watts if it's from a respectable brand (Corsair, Antec, Seasonic) with a 80+ certificate, even for crossfire.

veeohhpee
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Joined: 02/04/2011
Posts: 6

I appreciate the input hnkfalnot... especially the feedback on RAM and the PSU. A further quesiton about the PSU....my proposed build is partly focused on upgradability for the next 3-5 years. For example, my first upgrade that i have scheduled is to setup SSD's in RAID to further enhcance my multitasking needs. That's my justification for the 850w-to ensure that when I do add/upgrade components for the next 3-5 years I won't have to hesitate when making a purchase. Is this concern warranted or do you think I'll still be fine with 550-600w for the years to come?

GraysonPeddie
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I don't think SSDs will be that much of a concern for power consumption. I think that traditional hard drives have a power consumption of 4 to 8 watts compared to SSD's 0.1 to 2 watts:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/6gb-s-ssd-hdd,2603-9.html

And by the way, forget about future-proofing your PC. I don't see why you'll want to have two $300 video cards and a $1,000 high-end CPU, because during the next 6 months or so, the prices for the components will go down, unless you care for bragging rights.

HTPC: AMD Athlon X2 4050e CPU with 780G ATX motherboard running Windows 8 DP (4GB) and Ubuntu; Server: AMD AII X2 240e CPU with 880G-based ATX motherboard running Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS (8GB)

2 pairs of Insignia NS-B2111s (front/rear), Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker, and 12" Velodyne Sub

Just ordered HP Pavilion dv7-6165us from QVC. Will have it by next Friday.

hnkftalnot
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Posts: 262

I'm thinking of the degradation of a PSU (capacitor aging), but most known-to-be-good types of PSUs carry high quality capacitors and after 5 years the degradation shouldn't be too significant. In general it is advised however to not use a 5-year old PSU for a new rig (and add more years to it), but that's a different story and you should be fine :).

As GraysonPeddie said it's not needed to get a higher Watts PSU for upgrading or adding some HDD/SSD and other peripherals such as optical drives and fans. Those are really not an issue since they are very low power, and you can virtually always add one or two. Perhaps you can overpower your PSU just a bit for your plans with overclocking and maybe another graphics card, but even in that case I still think 600Watts would be enough.

Unless you plan to Crossfire/SLI top-end cards (6990 or GTX 580) which can theoretically (!!) draw up to 300 Watts each according to their power connector specifications, you may want to get some more Watts, but as you can see in the power-benchmarks, they never reach their theoretically maximum Watts anyway, so in my opinion an 850 Watts PSU would be overdoing it even in that case. Besides, the current trend is power efficiency so with the next few generations of graphics cards I personally think power requirements will not change much, even for the top-end cards.
And more importantly; I don't think you'll be looking at these kind of extreme situations since one (non-crossfired) top-end card would suit you more than well anyway.

But still, if you feel secured by an 850 Watts PSU then by any means go for it. But realistically speaking, let me illustrate: from the link GreysonPeddie gave, a 6970 at max load would be near 150 Watts, then count a very royal 200 for a highly overclocked CPU and another 100 for extra stuff (mobo, harddrives, etc). That would sum up to 450 Watts if everything is used to the max at the same time. Add in another card for Crossfire (let's play it safe again and count another 150) and you'd be at 600 Watts. But again, it's your choice, this is just my reasoning and what I would do. - depending on the PSU's price and availability of course ;).

@ GreysonPeddie; what do you mean with a $1,000 CPU? I have to agree on your thoughts though since AMDs Bulldozer is coming in a few months and may change a lot to the current (kinda limited) AMD perspective we're seeing, but still, I think the current Thuban CPUs will be able to hold on for a few years., but $1,000? That's more of a pricepoint I would expect from Intel's Extreme Edition CPUs (that no gamer or mainstream user would ever want)?

GraysonPeddie
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Quote:@ GreysonPeddie; what do you mean with a $1,000 CPU? I have to agree on your thoughts though since AMDs Bulldozer is coming in a few months and may change a lot to the current (kinda limited) AMD perspective we're seeing, but still, I think the current Thuban CPUs will be able to hold on for a few years., but $1,000? That's more of a pricepoint I would expect from Intel's Extreme Edition CPUs (that no gamer or mainstream user would ever want)?

Well, let's just say that those who spent about $1,000 for a CPU are for early adoptors who want to totally get their hands in such a CPU and in about a year from now, the price of the CPU will go down and the next great CPU gets released by Intel or AMD and that early adopters wished they would love to have that great top-of-the-line CPU--(hmm... still thinking...)... Well, I think I should have not mentioned about a $1,000 CPU; however, I think that a $1,000 CPU is for those with unlimited cash with lots of money to burn for buying top-of-the-line components for every 6 to 12 months, but when it comes to power consumption, I don't think it's worth it my knowledge of the Core i7-980X when it comes to benchmarks and power consumption is very limited.

So, what I can say is that Phenom II X6 will do just fine for about 5 years and as for the original poster, if you're in for bang-for-the-buck while having good performance, you should go for Phenom II. Of course, I'll let someone with knowledge and familiarity of Intel CPU and motherboards that uses the Intel socket chime in here and come up with a similar build; however, I think the Intel build will probably be more expensive, but I could be wrong.

HTPC: AMD Athlon X2 4050e CPU with 780G ATX motherboard running Windows 8 DP (4GB) and Ubuntu; Server: AMD AII X2 240e CPU with 880G-based ATX motherboard running Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS (8GB)

2 pairs of Insignia NS-B2111s (front/rear), Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker, and 12" Velodyne Sub

Just ordered HP Pavilion dv7-6165us from QVC. Will have it by next Friday.

hnkftalnot
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Ah I see your point, early adapters always pay a premium just because it's new while it may not be the smartest choice. About the Core i7-980X, I thought the only premium was the unlocked multi, but maybe it will differ in other aspects as well. Anyway, I believe such humongous purchases are not an option for people who'd rather use their PC than try and test it out :p.

But yeah I think AMD will provide the biggest bang for buck with these hexacores, even for a long time to come. The hyperthreading on some of the Intel CPUs seems really nice too, but from what I've seen the whole platform (motherboards) is more expensive as well.

massau
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would it better to wait for bulldozer or llano(or so hard name :p) so your mobo is more future proof and if bulldozer isn't that expencive it would be perfect for multi tasking because it will be an 8 core and these cpu will be 32nm SOI so less power usage (even less than Intels bulk) and higher clocks, and buy an ssd later they will scale and go dawn in price like now or in 2years they will become cheaper

GraysonPeddie
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If you can wait, I'd say yes. I'm planning to wait for new AMD Fusion-based Witchita tablets with Windows 7 (upgradable to Windows 8), hoping that the new tablets will include a 3-axis accelerometer, GPS, and a built-in 720p webcam.

HTPC: AMD Athlon X2 4050e CPU with 780G ATX motherboard running Windows 8 DP (4GB) and Ubuntu; Server: AMD AII X2 240e CPU with 880G-based ATX motherboard running Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS (8GB)

2 pairs of Insignia NS-B2111s (front/rear), Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker, and 12" Velodyne Sub

Just ordered HP Pavilion dv7-6165us from QVC. Will have it by next Friday.