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My First Computer


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#1
JudgeJimmie

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This is the first computer I am putting together, and after a few days asking around and researching this is what I have come up with. I want to use this system through my 4 years at college, and would like to use it as a media center + Video Editor and 3D Animator. I will probably do some light gaming on it as well. If there is a place that you see where I can CUT Costs, Please do say so

Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R - 184.99 After Rebates
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813128375

CPU
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz - 288.99
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115202

GPU
HIS Hightech H477F512P - 89.99 After Rebates
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814161279

RAM
OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - 74.99 After Rebates
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820227381

Hard Drive
2x Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS 320GB - 109.98 (Planning on RAID 0)
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16822136074

PSU
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V - 99.99 After Rebates

CASE
COOLER MASTER RC-690-KKN1-GP - 74.99 After Rebates
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16811119137

CD DRIVE
LG Black 22X (CAV) - 24.99
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16827136152

HeatSink
XIGMATEK Dark Knight-S1283V - 39.99
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16835233029

Monitor
ASUS VW224U Black 22" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor - 149.99 After Rebates
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16824236050

Was wondering how good this monitor is? I don't really understand things like HD and stuff like that. If I get a TV Tuner can I watch TV on this monitor?

Total $1139

Edited by JudgeJimmie, 04 May 2009 - 05:59 PM.

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#2
stettybet0

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This looks like a very solid build, well done.

A few ways to save money:

If you have a Micro Center near you, they have the Core i7 920 for $230 (link). It's only available in store.

The 320GB WD Caviar SE16 is designed as Western Digital entry-level drive, and thus they put more emphasis on acoustics than performance (to appease OEMs like HP, Dell, etc.). You'd probably get better performance from one 640GB WD Caviar Black, and it is cheaper than two of the 320GB WD Caviar SE16s. It also comes with a five year warranty, compared to the 320GB WD Caviar SE16's 3 year warranty.

Will you be overclocking? If not, you do not need that Xigmatek CPU heatsink/fan. The Core i7 920 will come with a heatsink/fan which is adequate if you will be running at stock speeds.

As for the monitor, 1680x1050 is a low resolution for 22". You'd want at least 1920x1200 for that size.
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#3
JudgeJimmie

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Thanks. I won't be overclocking so I will get the heatsink out of the build. I am a little confused now though, because I have had people tell me that doing a RAID 0 would improve speed by 20-30%. I am not entirely sure of the process and why, so if you could explain that in a little more detail it would be much appreciated.

EDIT: Also about the monitor, I can't seem to even find any 22" Monitors with a resolution of 1900x1200. In fact, none of the 22" monitors on new egg for between $100-200 support above the 1680x1050 Resolution. I am really unsure about the monitor, as this to me would be a very important piece of the computer. I would like to get a good one that wont cause eye strain or anything like that, but also needs to be cheaper. Probably not possible though =(. My mom can also get an Employee discount for HP monitors, so one of those may end up being the cheapest way to go.

EDIT 2: What do you think of this monitor? http://www.newegg.co...N82E16824176110
I wish that it was a little cheaper though =(....
This one seems like a good deal as well http://www.newegg.co...N82E16824001317

Edited by JudgeJimmie, 04 May 2009 - 08:28 PM.

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#4
stettybet0

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RAID 0 is a process where, essentially, half of your data is written to one hard drive, and half is written to the other. So, for example, for a 2MB file, 1MB would be written to hard drive #1 and 1MB would be written to hard drive #2. Obviously, this has its advantages. If each hard drive can write 1MB in one second (numbers chosen for simplicity), it would normally take two seconds for a single hard drive to write a 2MB file. However, with each hard drive writing 1MB simultaneously, it should only take 1 second for the 2MB file to be written. The same applies when reading a file. If the a single hard drive could read a 2MB file in two seconds, then two hard drives could read 1MB each simultaneously in one second. So, theoretically at least, RAID 0 should give you a 100% performance increase.

In reality though, it doesn't. First of all, there is overhead for the RAID controller to process how the data will be split up between the hard drives. Also, there is the "stripe size", which determines how big each piece of each file on each hard drive is. If the stripe size is too big (say, 512kb), then all files smaller than 512kb (many system files which are frequently accessed are smaller than 512kb) will not receive any benefit from RAID 0, as they will all be stored on one hard drive. If the stripe size is too small (say, 4kb), then the RAID controller has to do extra work because the files are getting split into more parts. (A 1MB file would be split into just two 512kb stripes, but it would be split into 256 4kb stripes!) A common middle value, such as 64kb or 128kb, reduces each of these effects from the extremes, but still suffers from both problems. Also, the stripe size also suffers from "bloat". If your stripe size is 128kb, but you only have a 1kb file, it will still take up 128kb on your hard drive. So, you effectively have less room on two 320GB hard drives in RAID 0 than on one 640GB hard drive.

Also, don't forget that since your data is split between the two hard drives, if one hard drive fails you will lose all of your data. So, your chance of losing data is doubled compared to if you weren't using RAID 0.

Overall, the average performance gain from RAID 0 is less than 10%. If you have a really good RAID controller (found on dedicated RAID cards and meant for enterprise environments), you might get 20%-30%.

The 640GB Caviar Black I recommended easily has more than 10% better performance than the 320GB Caviar SE16, so it is really the better choice than two 320GB Caviar SE16s in RAID 0.

EDIT: For monitors, you're right, 22" monitors don't typically come with 1920x1200 resolution. I was thinking of 24" for some reason. Still, I think 1680x1050 is too few pixels for 22". This is a nice 21.5" monitor with 1920x1080. If you are into HD, that resolution is 1080p, which is great if you want to hook up a Blu-Ray player to it.

Edited by stettybet0, 04 May 2009 - 08:43 PM.

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#5
JudgeJimmie

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Ok, thank you. I will go with the 640 GB HD. That was actually what I had before until someone told me that I should do a RAID 0. Refer to the post above your second one for a question regarding the monitors.
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#6
stettybet0

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Refer to my edit in response to your edit in my previous post. :)
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#7
JudgeJimmie

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OK, Thank you very much for your help Stetty, I think I am going to pull the trigger on this build with the 640GB HD and that monitor. I'll be sure to come back to geekstogo if I have any questions during the building phase. Thanks for all the help!
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#8
stettybet0

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Good luck! :)
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#9
nofun

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Good build overall!

Three things:

1) Why WOULDN'T you overclock? There's no such thing as too much speed, even for just basic applications, and the i7 920 has tremendous overclocking potential. Out of the box, the i7 920 runs at 2.66 Ghz, overclocked you can safely reach speeds of 3.6 GHz and still have a stable system (in the lab they've hit 4.0+ GHz). If you're willing to spend an extra $65, get the Thermalright Ultra-120 and you should be able to achieve speeds of 3.6 GHz safely on air cooling. I know it's an expensive heat sink, but for that LITTLE bit extra, you can see a great jump in performance.

2) The video card you selected doesn't have an S-Video port. I'm not sure if you need it, but just a heads up there. (You might as well get one with an S-Video port if you can do it without spending a lot more money).

3) This SAMSUNG DVD Burner comes with Lightscribe and is cheaper than the one you selected. Lightscribe is a way to create professional looking labels. You need to buy special discs to do it, but they aren't that expensive, and of course the drive will be able to read/write to standard DVDs as well. Go to their website at http://www.lightscribe.com/ for more details.



PS - About Raid 0, the reason why it gives you better performance is because when reading or writing to a hard drive you are bottlenecked by the drive's read/write speed. Usually this is about 40ish MB/s. But if you're running Vista (which aggressive stacks unused RAM with commonly used programs to get minimize this bottleneck), and you're not doing anything TOO crazy, you should be fine without it.

If you want to see the real power of what high performance hard drives in Raid 0 can do... check this out:


(24 Solid State Drives (SSD's) in raid 0. SSD's are VERY EXPENSIVE high performance drives which can read about 200 MB/s for good ones. This setup cost them about $20,000! :) )

Edited by nofun, 05 May 2009 - 12:47 PM.

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