Build for about $1500?

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Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 9:02 am

Hello folks. Long time reader of TR, first time poster. Looking to build my first desktop since 2001 - been using laptops exclusively since about 2004, but I'm wanting something a bit more powerful. I'm a software developer, so I run virtual machines with various flavors of 'nix on them - hence the 16GB of ram. I also enjoy photography/astrophotography, so I'll be using CS5 and video editing software as well. I haven't been into PC gaming much recently except for some indie bundles on Steam, but I'd like to change that with this build so I can play some heftier games.


Here's my thoughts so far - started with the Memorial Day sweet spot build, and made a few tweaks. My budget is $1500, including monitor. Prices are either estimates or NewEgg - I'll buy parts from NewEgg, Amazon, etc. depending on price.

Code: Select all
i5-3550 3.3GHz                    209.99
Asus P8Z77-V LK                   149.99
16GB DDR3-1600                    100.00
Gigabyte Radeon HD 7850 (975MHz)  259.99
SSD (128GB - Crucial M4?)         115.00
Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB          109.99
Asus DRW-24B1ST (DVD-RW)           17.99
Asus Xonar DG                      26.94
NZXT H2 case                       89.99
Seasonic M12II 520W psu            59.99
Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler           32.99
Rosewill Wireless-N adapter        19.99
Dell 2312HM 1920x1080 23" IPS     240.00
TOTAL                            1432.85


Noise - I'd prefer this system to be very quiet at idle - the last desktop I had sounded like a jet when it was running. I'm hoping the H2 case, with the 212 Evo cooler will help with that. Should I be concerned about fan noise from this PSU and this particular 7850?

SSD - I've been out of the loop for a bit. I remember some fiasco with BSODs, but that seems to be a thing of the past. Any particular brand/model recommendation? Looking for a 128GB system drive at about the $1/GB price point.

HDD - if I have the 128GB SSD as the main drive, do I need the speed of the F3? Or would a similarly priced 2TB be good as a steam/photo/video drive?

Optical - Don't care too much about bluray at the moment, and that's an easy upgrade later.

RAM - what speed do I need here? Is 1600 good? Any reason for 4x4GB vs 2x8GB?

Mobo - here's where I really need the advice. There are several variants of mobos, all around the $150 price range. I don't mind paying +/- $20 if it's worth it. Integrated bluetooth would be nice for the future, but not worried about it if it's more than a $20 increase - I can get an adapter for that price.

CPU - Don't plan on OCing, especially with the overall plan to keep this system relatively quiet. And, the non-K processors appear to have some additional virtualization-related instruction sets, which would probably be beneficial to me (or would they?). Can't seem to justify the $300+ price of the i7.

Other - already have keyboard/mouse, and plan on getting a 2.1 speaker of some sort.

OS - have a family pack of Win 7 premium. I'll upgrade to Pro if I get >32GB ram.


Here's the kicker - I'd really like to be able to have 2 of the Dell 2312HM monitors and keep the price at $1500, but I can't see any good place to cut $170 from the rest of the build to make this possible. Should I just go with this and a single monitor, and add another monitor later? Or can I cut $170 without hurting this build too much?


I know there's threads like this all the time, but I figure you guys wouldn't be here if you didn't like looking over builds. :) Anyways, thanks for the advice!

Ryan
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 9:33 am

Welcome to the TR forum!

If you're doing a lot with virtual machines, remember that you're most likely storing the drive images for those virtual guests on the mechanical drive as well. That may or may not make a huge difference, but it's certainly going to be similar to having a 5400RPM drive as a system drive. Also, I'm guessing that most game installs will wind up on that drive as well? 128GB SSDs will hold a handful of games, to be sure, but with install sizes in the 10-15GB range for many recent games, it won't hold all that many at once and still have the OS and whatever else you put there.

I'd stick with a 7200RPM drive, myself.

Noise - I would not expect much noise from a Seasonic PSU running at around 50-60% capacity when totally maxed out. And I have the older Hyper 212+ (rather than Evo) and it's very quiet. I think you'll be happy with those choices. Not sure about the 7850, though I'd investigate non-stock coolers on cards if you're concerned.

For the CPU, I like your choice. A non-K CPU will have the fancy virtualization extensions missing from the K versions, and as you said you don't plan to OC.

Great looking build all around. I'm a bit envious. :D :evil: :wink:
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 9:44 am

RAM - are there any motherboards that support quad-channel memory? 2x8GB is probably better. If you had 4 memory channels, your performance could be better with 4 sticks, but since that isn't the case, I would go with fewer sticks with more space (leaves more room to upgrade later).

Monitor - well...the easy place that you might be able to trim is the SSD. Yeah, that's a major performance component, but that's about all I see that would reduce the cost of your build without trying to cut a few dollars from every component. I would go with the build you have and just buy another monitor later. Even if you can't get an identical twin, you would have the build you need.

The other option for dual monitors is going for a pair of Acers or something, but since you're going to do video/photos, a single Dell would probably be the better choice.

EDIT: If you were going the cost-cutting route, you can cut out the wireless adapter and get one later. The same could be said of your sound card unless you splurge on a really nice speaker setup, where you could just roll that cost into the speaker purchase, since they will work hand-in-hand. I know these suggestions put off costs until later, but your main focus is going to be on GPU, CPU/Mobo, and RAM. You're not going to see a huge change in value in the sound or wireless cards like you would with the core components.
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 10:30 am

Good point on the 7200 vs 5400 rpm drive - yes, virtual machines and games will likely be on there, and 1TB should be plenty anyway. I'll check out aftermarket GPU coolers if it seems too loud.



I was starting to come to the same conclusion about adding another monitor and keeping the price under $1500 - it seemed like I'd have to cut too much from everything else that it would knock the whole system down to the econobox level, and I want this to last me several years. I'll probably just get another monitor later. Can't cut the wireless adapter - I'm in an apartment, and my router is on the opposite side of where my desk will be.
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 10:42 am

Do you have a Microcenter near where you live? They generally have pretty good deals on some items.

I agree to just stick with a mechanical HD at this point. You need the space. Everything else looks good.
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 10:57 am

If you browse the ASUS page for that MB you will find that it supports SSD caching (Smart Response Technology) - best of both worlds. You get the storage space of the HDD and the speed of the SSD for your most commonly used data. It works seamlessly in the background (all you see is the HDD) . I'm building a new system this weekend and I'm going to be using a 120GB SSD as a cache drive for a 2TB Caviar Black. You've got to connect both the SSD and the HDD to the Intel 6Gb/s SATA ports.

Edit: whoops, I got my linux machine storage upgrades mixed up with my gaming rig parts. The SSD cache setup is a 240GB SSD and a Seagate Momentus XT 750GB.
Last edited by End User on Wed May 30, 2012 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 11:08 am

DancinJack wrote:Do you have a Microcenter near where you live? They generally have pretty good deals on some items.

About 2 hours away, but I'll be in the area this Friday. Think I'll check it out.

End User wrote:If you browse the ASUS page for that MB you will find that it supports SSD caching (Smart Response Technology) - best of both worlds.

Is SRT as good as OS/main apps on the SSD + everything else on the HDD? Not meaning to be skeptical, just curious.
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 11:40 am

brm11235 wrote:
End User wrote:If you browse the ASUS page for that MB you will find that it supports SSD caching (Smart Response Technology) - best of both worlds.

Is SRT as good as OS/main apps on the SSD + everything else on the HDD? Not meaning to be skeptical, just curious.

The technology figures out what your most used data is and keeps it cached. If that is OS and apps (and the cache drive is big enough) then you should be fine. If it sees something else being used more than what is already cached then it will replace cache data. The bigger the SSD the better. I bought a 240GB SSD to use as a cache drive.

If you want to be in absolute control over what you have on the SSD then caching is not what you want.
i7-3770K@4.7 | H100 | P8Z77-V PREMIUM | 16GB | 2 GTX 770 4GB SLI | M500 960GB | EVO 840 250GB | AX850 | Obsidian 550D | R.A.T. 9 | U2713H | U2711
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 1:42 pm

Welcome to the forums and congrats.

brm11235 wrote:I know there's threads like this all the time, but I figure you guys wouldn't be here if you didn't like looking over builds
Nice!

derFunkenstein wrote:Noise - I would not expect much noise from a Seasonic PSU running at around 50-60% capacity when totally maxed out. And I have the older Hyper 212+ (rather than Evo) and it's very quiet.
Seconded. I have the same PSU and cooler. The PSU barely makes any noise, and the PWM fan on the Evo is humming quietly at 600 rpm (when folding with 100% CPU utilization).

brm11235 wrote:Mobo - here's where I really need the advice. There are several variants of mobos, all around the $150 price range.
Your motherboard choice looks fine. The next step up is the -V which has additional features like integrated Wi-Fi. If you need just one PCIe 3.0 slot (instead of 2), one PCI slot (instead of 2) and 4 USB 3.0 slots (instead of 6), you could go with the P8Z77-V LX for $17 less. Bluetooth is not worth pursuing on the Asus line-up as only the Deluxe has it.

brm11235 wrote:
DancinJack wrote:Do you have a Microcenter near where you live? They generally have pretty good deals on some items.

About 2 hours away, but I'll be in the area this Friday. Think I'll check it out.

You would get $50 off the motherboard if you go for the i5-3570k, in addition to a significant discount on the CPU.
(My build, thanks to TR) i5-3570k | P8Z77-V | DDR3 1600 (4x4 GB) | 7950 | m4 128 GB | Blue SE16 500 GB | Green SE16 1 TB | Xonar DG | M12II 520 W | 550D | LP2475W | Blu-Ray | Shine Zero | MX310 | Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 1:59 pm

integer wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:Noise - I would not expect much noise from a Seasonic PSU running at around 50-60% capacity when totally maxed out. And I have the older Hyper 212+ (rather than Evo) and it's very quiet.
Seconded. I have the same PSU and cooler. The PSU barely makes any noise, and the PWM fan on the Evo is humming quietly at 600 rpm (when folding with 100% CPU utilization).

Thanks for the confirmation in this PSU / cooler combo. Hopefully paired with the H2 case, it'll be extra quiet.

integer wrote:Your motherboard choice looks fine. The next step up is the -V which has additional features like integrated Wi-Fi. If you need just one PCIe 3.0 slot (instead of 2), one PCI slot (instead of 2) and 4 USB 3.0 slots (instead of 6), you could go with the P8Z77-V LX for $17 less. Bluetooth is not worth pursuing on the Asus line-up as only the Deluxe has it.

Think I'll stick with the one listed then - extra I/O ports can't hurt, especially for $17.

integer wrote:You would get $50 off the motherboard if you go for the i5-3570k, in addition to a significant discount on the CPU.

Very tempting - just not sure about the K processor. Need to look and see what the virtualization extensions actually do for me. Don't see the LK variant of that Asus mobo on the MicroCenter website after a quick glance - but I could get the PRO and the i5-3570k for cheaper from MicroCenter than the LK and i5-3550 from NewEgg.
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 2:37 pm

brm11235 wrote:Need to look and see what the virtualization extensions actually do for me.

To complete this thought...
From what I can tell, the non-K processors have VT-d and vPRO extensions. VirtualBox, which is what I'll be using, doesn't currently use either of these (though in the future it might use VT-d). Stuff like ESXI could take advantage of it, but I won't be running that. So actually, the 3570K might be a better fit for me...
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 2:46 pm

brm11235 wrote:Need to look and see what the virtualization extensions actually do for me.

VT-x is all you need to get an OS up and running in a hardware assisted VM. VT-x is a supported feature in K processors. Ivy Bridge K processors (and most processors overall) are missing VT-d. VT-d goes beyond the basics provided by VT-x to allow you to directly use I/O hardware resources (ethernet, graphics cards, hard drive controllers, etc).

VT-d would allow you to create a VM and have it directly use a dedicated video card (separate from the vid card used by the host OS). Theoretically you would get 100% of the GPU power from that card in a VM.

Your VM software would have to support VT-d.

Edit: I'm thinking 64-bit and VMWare. I don't think you even need VT-x to run a x86 OS under VMWare Workstation. All VirtualBox needs is an x86 host CPU.
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 4:04 pm

brm11235 wrote:
integer wrote:You would get $50 off the motherboard if you go for the i5-3570k, in addition to a significant discount on the CPU.

Very tempting - just not sure about the K processor. Need to look and see what the virtualization extensions actually do for me. Don't see the LK variant of that Asus mobo on the MicroCenter website after a quick glance - but I could get the PRO and the i5-3570k for cheaper from MicroCenter than the LK and i5-3550 from NewEgg.

You can get the LE from Microcenter for $115 (if purchasing the i5-3570k). It has 1 PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, 3 PCI slots, 2 additional Marvell 6 Gbps SATA ports in comparison to the LK. There are other minor additions like USB BIOS flashback button, TPU switch etc.
(My build, thanks to TR) i5-3570k | P8Z77-V | DDR3 1600 (4x4 GB) | 7950 | m4 128 GB | Blue SE16 500 GB | Green SE16 1 TB | Xonar DG | M12II 520 W | 550D | LP2475W | Blu-Ray | Shine Zero | MX310 | Windows 7 Home Premium SP1
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 4:14 pm

integer wrote:You can get the LE from Microcenter for $115 (if purchasing the i5-3570k). It has 1 PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, 3 PCI slots, 2 additional Marvell 6 Gbps SATA ports in comparison to the LK. There are other minor additions like USB BIOS flashback button, TPU switch etc.

Unfortunately out of stock at my location...hopefully it'll be restocked by Friday!
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Re: Build for about $1500?

Postposted on Wed May 30, 2012 7:37 pm

Your proposed build looks fine except that I'd have suggested a PCIe sound card instead of a legacy PCI card. You might save some cash by purchasing your pair of Dell monitors as refurbished units from the Dell Outlet store.
http://www.dell.com/us/dfh/p/monitors-outlet
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