I'm about to start building my first computer. I decided that for college the best computer for me is a combination of a mid-high performance desktop, with a cheap netbook. I need the desktop to remain usable/respectable enough for about four years. I'm planning on becoming a mechanical engineer, and will be studying at UC Davis. Thus, I would like the desktop to be able to run various CAD programs, such as the student edition of Solidworks, while enough to not have to be majorly upgraded during my studies. It should also be able to run games for the next four years well enough.It will be my workstation, TV, stereo, and game system for four years.
I have compiled a list of what components I think I should use to build it. So far, I only really have my heart set on the performance of the i5 2500k and the 6950. Beyond those components, I dont have much of a clue
. Everything else is up for change/cheapening. Please: comment, critique, and let me know what you think. Price should be kept as low as possible, without sacrificing the i5 2500k, 6950, or any basic functionality/major performance.Optical Drive:
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burnerhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827118039
Still relevant in my opinion. I have some older games I would like to install too. If there is a cheaper option, let me know.Case:
COOLER MASTER Storm Scouthttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119196
I like the looks of it, and the handles. I will be bringing my computer home for breaks, etc. so this is a nice feature. I am a bit worried about the size: a standard 6950 will not fit, thus I want the shorter XFX version. Once again, if there is a cheaper/better option, let me know. Is it worth getting a bigger case in light of future upgrade-ability?HDD:
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185
The TR favorite. Good value, plenty of capacity.Monitor:
This is a BIG question mark
for me. I've using a 16:10 monitor for over 3 years now, and 16:9 just seems weird to me. I love the extra vertical resolution but I'm not sure if its worth the $100 premium over a similar 16:9 monitor. This is the smallest and cheapest 1920X1200 monitor on Newegg. I think the size is good for my need, I'm currently on a 19" 1440X900 monitor.GPU:
XFX 6950 1GBhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150527
Performance seems good for me, I want it to play most games at acceptable frame rates for the next couple years. I like this specific model because it is short enough to fit in the case. If there is a better/cheaper option that is longer, I will also need to be recommenced a bigger case.Sound Card:
Xonar DGhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132020Not entirely sure if this is necessary
. After freshman year, I plan on moving to an apartment. Until then, speakers/sound will have to be kept on the down-low. I plan on using my current cheap Logitech 2.1 system on the rare occasions I wont be bothering anyone.PSU:
Corsair 650 TXhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005
More expensive a PSU than I think I need. Is it worth getting a good PSU now to use in the future, or should I save money and use a cheaper PSU for now? Whats the cheapest decent PSU I can get away with in this kind of system?Keyboard:
Saitek Eclipse IIhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823175001
Eh, I'm a sucker for lighted keys.
Seriously, I don't have a clue here. I need a good keyboard that will be comfortable for long typing sessions, and good at gaming. I like lots of buttons for quick use right at my fingertips.Mouse:
Originally, I wanted the MX518, but that's deactivated now. Looks good. Any other (cheaper) option needs to be comfortable, and have plenty of functionality/buttons.Media Card Reader:
Basically, the cheapest reader that wont die on me. Anything better/cheaper?Memory:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GBhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231311
Pretty sure I need 8GB. This Is the cheapest good DDR3 RAM of that capacity.Motherboard:
Took the TR recommendation. Is there room for getting anything cheaper that's about as functional?CPU:
Sandy bridge is great, should be an awesome improvement over my current Q6600, and remain just as good over time. Overclocking is good for extending functional life.CPU Cooler:
I think I will need it for future overclocking. Not 100% sure if necessary.
Also, do I need thermal paste?SSD:
Intel 320 Series 120GBhttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820167050
Reliability is Paramount here. I want it big enough to have the OS and a few key applications; perhaps some games. MAY be cut if price of whole system is too high. How much do I need an SSD?
OS will be Windows 7, $62 with my student discount.
Any way I can get it cheaper, without having to wear a patch on my eye, and a parrot on my shoulder?
Just realized I will be needing headphones, so as not to disturb my roommate. Whats a good/cheap option?
Now comes the question of where to buy all this. I like Newegg for the support, but since I live in California, the ~$120 tax is not so good. Amazon will be a bit (~$50) cheaper, but I don't know if the loss of support is worth it.
I feel up to the task of building this. Although the most hardware intensive task I have done is installing my 4850, I have been reading TR and other tech sites for over three years now. I also have a friend that has some experience building computers that I plan on asking for help. All it is is a really, REALLY expensive lego set, right?
Finally, the netbook. I just need something cheap and decent to use on the occasion I have to do my work someplace else/take notes/be in a study group. Definitely under $300, as cheap as possible while not being hair-pullingly slow.
THANK YOU ALL for answering my avalanche of questions. Any other tech related college tips are greatly appreciated!