Building new system $2,000 budget

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Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:59 pm

I'm not new here, but it has been at least 3 years since I last posted, and I can't remember my old user name. Anyway, I am building a new system on a $2,000 budget. I have not bought any parts, nor have I begun to research the latest and greatest hardware. I would like to build a gaming machine, with audiophile sound quality as well. And I am OCD, which makes me a purist, meaning when I build a system, I want all of the parts to be the same brand where possible. Intel or AMD doesn't matter. But if I go AMD, I want a Radeon video card. If I go intel, I would prefer NVIDIA. I know, I'm weird like that. Sound card, I'm thinking an ASUS Xonar Essence, but I already own the Essence ST and could just use my old one in the new build. It works just fine. I've heard great things about the sound quality of the Hammerfall sound cards as well. Which, by the way, Hammerfall is one of my favorite metal bands.
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moresmarterthanspock
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:06 pm

$2000 bucks seems a bit like overkill, but to each his own I guess.

Keep your Essence, your not going to find noticeable improvement by upgrading that. I don't even know where I would begin when putting together a $2000 build... I mean the first question you have to ask yourself is what is more important; power vs. noise, then power vs aesthetic. Answering those question will greatly shape the end result.
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:06 pm

What about the Sweet Spot from the TR system guide? You're going to get almost nothing going from $1000 to $2000.

http://techreport.com/articles.x/22104/4
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:08 pm

If I did a 4-drive striped RAID, would that help much? I've heard it helps to have a seperate add-on raid controller, which is supposedly better than FakeRAID.
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:25 pm

Sorry, I didn't answer a question. Power vs. Noise. I prefer power. Power vs. Looks. Again, power takes priority. I like my computer like my trucks. Ugly, noisy, but 0 to 100 mph in WHHEEEEE!!!!
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:15 pm

So what are you looking for in a soundcard if your fans are noisy: gaming? deafening metal? Do you already have speakers? If you want to fly, EXTERNAL DAC ALL THE WAY!
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:34 pm

Can you be more specific about your audiophile requirements and intentions? Typically having good audio has very little to do with most of the hardware, and what parts do matter really depends on if you are talking about only using headphones, nearfield monitors, a surround system, or a combination of these. Also, you say you haven't bought any parts yet, but what do you already have as far as headphones, speakers, other equipment that will go in the signal chain? Without any more info on how you'll be using your computer, I could recommend speakers, an amp, and a DAC and leave you with, oh, $300 for the computer heehee.

On a more serious note, I would also suggest going with something similar to the Sweet Spot system that's already been linked. Add in a couple hundred bucks to that for a decent backup storage solution, and the rest can go towards audio. Unless you have a specific need, I really don't recommend blowing any of your budget on a sound card. Instead, get a low-mid priced DAC (~$150) that will either use the optical out on your motherboard or a USB port. No sound card is going to improve on that really, unless you are going for a surround setup. Then use the other ~$600 or so on whatever else you need... headphones, speakers, amp, headphone amp, etc.

Fiio has some well respected products that have a small footprint and will fit well within the environment of a computer desk while providing excellent audio.

For the record, I recently picked up Audioengine A5+ speakers (powered, $399) and HRT Musicstreamer II USB DAC ($150) and the sound is pretty damn good for the price. This, however, would not be ideal if you also require a decent amp to drive headphones.
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:36 pm

Hmm, since 7970 is the top of the line GPU at the moment looks like we are going AMD/AMD for processor and GPU

Case: Corsair Obsidian 800D, this is a beat of a case and will do your build justice
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811139001

Motherboard: Asus Crosshair V Formula 990FX etc etc... This is not a necessary buy, it is just top of the line for the AM3+ socket, and it throws in a new Thunderbolt port, a nice added feature
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131788

Processor: One of the latest 8-core AMD processors, the big brother is slightly faster, but not a necessary added expense (again, feel free to step up)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131788

CPU Heatsink: Corsair A70 is a nice big impressive looking heatsink (This is big enough to potentially interfere with ram slots)... if you prefer you can switch to water cooling or a smaller cooler, but this was a good deal
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835181011

RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16gb, ram is cheap right now, might as well stock up on good looking stuff
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820233143

Video Card: Asus AMD7970, not much to say... this card is solid
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814121485

Power Supply: Corsair HX750 Modular, this thing is silver certified an modular... this means cable management will be a breeze, and it will have enough juice to efficiently run your machine.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817139010

Disk Drive: At this point it would be silly not to have a blu-ray drive (burner), and Asus makes those
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827135252

Solid State Drive: Corsair Force GT series, I chose 180GB because it seemed to be a good balance for your price range, you can choose more or less
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820233211

Sound Card: Your Asus Essence card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6829132014

Depending on if you choose to splurge in some areas, or cut back in others, this should set you back around 2 grand.

This list takes into account that you already have a nice monitor, headphones, speakers, keyboard/mouse, etc...

If you need a speaker recommendations: Klipsch Promedia 2.1 is a pretty unbeatable set at a low pricepoint

Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-m50's are nice, otherwise look into Shure, Sennheiser, or Klipsch (any notable brand).

Other notes: Look into getting a DAC

Hope this helps you build a decent foundation for whatever you choose to put together!
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:58 pm

Considering the internal EMF of the computer, I suppose getting an external audio solution would be a good thought. I already have the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX, and I will say, for the $150 I spent on them 3 years ago, they still rock! If I decide to replace my Essence ST sound card, the determining factors would probably be a top-of-the-line DAC, low SNR, and a clean signal path from the 24 bit/192 Khz FLAC file all the way to the speakers. I would like to upgrade my speakers in the future, keeping the signal all-analog from the DAC to the speakers. I like gaming, which is why I want a fast computer with a good video card, but I spend a LOT of time listening to music.
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:09 pm

For your audio upgrade path, you should focus on speakers, amp, dac... in that order. While I don't doubt those speakers are impressive for their price, if you really do listen to a lot of music, a 2.0 setup of nice solid speakers with bigger cones might blow you away.
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:27 pm

Since building a good gaming machine seems simple enough, I will shift focus to the audio setup. Also, this will be well above my set budget, but affordable nonetheless. How about keeping my Essence ST, getting a decent vacuum tube amp, and setting a pair of these speaker? http://www.legacyaudio.com/products/view/studio-hd/ These legacy HD's are only 200 bucks more than the Bose(Buy Other Sound Equipment) 901's I bought 5 years ago, and will probably sound much much better than the Bose 901's anyway.
Last edited by moresmarterthanspock on Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:28 pm

I like a little bit of what everyone has said here, now for my 2 cents
First of all, I tend to agree with TurtlePerson that your $2000 budget might be a bit high as the performance curve levels off as cost increases beyond $1000 system price but here we go. I'm starting with a base of TR's Sweet Spot and swapping/adding the following:
Case: Corsair 600T = $190
Graphics: AMD 7970 = $600 but will likely come down in price when Nvidia launches Kepler
Storage: Use a 256GB Samsung 830 for the OS and programs/games = $400
I'm going to say...re-use a mechanical hard drive from your existing machine for data at least until hdd prices return to normal
CPU Cooler: Thermalrite Archon = $80
Ram: 8GB Mushkin Enhanced Redline 1866, 1.5v, CL9 ram (or whatever you choose, 1600Mhz doesn't sacrifice much performance and can be had for $40) = $75
Reuse your soundcard and Klipsch speakers (very nice by the way)

Thats approx $1,800 and it's a really hardcore gaming machine. You could save quite a bit by dropping down to a ~$250 graphics card if you're not a heavy gamer. That also gives you more money toward the audio upgrades you're talking about.

You're going to have to get over your OCD about AMD/AMD or Intel/Nvidia (Intel and Nvidia aren't really "matching companies" anyway) if you want the best gaming performance. Intel has the best gaming CPU's on the market and the AMD 7970 is king of the single chip GPU world (at least until Nvidia Kepler comes out)
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:38 pm

I can't really speak to the quality of those speakers you linked. However, it appears they are more geared toward home theater VS audio, which means they might be intended more for movies rather than music. This doesn't mean they'd sound bad, but this is a distinction that is made a lot when the world 'audiophile' comes up. Although they are called monitors, I'm not sure if they will be ideal for close listening. Also, with the rear-firing ports, they might sound muddy if they are too close to a wall. They look like they might be terribly overpriced.

For speaker recommendations, you might check out some of the advice at http://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/. I have not once seen anyone there mention this brand for listening to music.
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:26 pm

Considering I'm building the computer first, I will re-shift focus to the computer itself for now. I will take my Essence ST out of my old tower and put it in the new build. I'll probably turn the old tower into a media or file server for now. I'm about 2 weeks away from ordering the parts, so I have plenty of time to decide what to build it with. Thank you for all of your suggestions. I have written them down and will consider them in my new build. :)
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:32 pm

$2K is a very large budget for a gaming PC.

We could waste a big chunk of your money in a hurry if we went with LGA2011 and X79:
$288½ Asus P9X79 ATX LGA2011 motherboard
$600 Intel Core i7-3930K LGA2011 processor
or $1050 Intel Core i7-3960X Extremely Expensive LGA2011 processor

Let's be sensible enough to stick with LGA1155 and Z68:
$205 Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 ATX LGA1155 motherboard
or $188 Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z/Gen3 micro-ATX LGA1155 motherboard
$320 Intel Core i7-2600K quad-core hyper-threading 3.4 GHz LGA1155 processor
or $230 Intel Core i5-2500K quad-core 3.3 GHz
or $300 Intel Core i7-2600 (if you need to run virtual machines)
or $370 Intel Core i7-2700K quad-core hyper-threading 3.5 GHz

4 GiB DIMMs of PC3-12800 memory are priced very attractively. Faster or larger DIMMs are more expensive.
$92 4x4 GiB PC3-12800 G.Skill F3-12800CL9Q-16GBSR1 (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.35 V)
or $78 4x4 GiB PC3-12800 Patriot PSD38G1600KH (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
or $150 2x8 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00 (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
or $120 4x4 GiB PC3-14900 G.Skill F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR (DDR3-1866, CAS 9, 1.5 V)
or $150 4x4 GiB PC3-17000 G.Skill F3-17000CL9D-8GBSR (DDR3-2133, CAS 9, 1.65 V)

Radeon HD7970 is the best graphics card on the market today.
$568 XFX Radeon HD7970 FX-797A-TNFC (925 MHz)
or $608 XFX Radeon HD7970 Black Edition FX-797A-TDBC (1000 MHz)
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:40 pm

I was a amd/ati fan for a long time.But if you do get a 7970 u should get a sandy bridge 25or2600k.Current AMD cpus are a bottle neck unless you are running a 4k monitor or 3 2k monitors.Once you max out your vid card bottle necks become less apparent.But if you are going to game at 1080p you might as well get a 120hrtz monitor and have a super silky gaming exp.The difference between 60 hrtz and 120hrtz is pretty dramatic.
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Re: Building new system $2,000 budget

Postposted on Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:21 pm

OCD for brands shouldn't matter when it comes to PC. Its one thing to get say an ASUS motherboard and video card. But saying nvidia and intel? they are not even the same company.

If you were serious about building a good system you need to go sandy bridge and Ati video card. They are top of the food chain right now.
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