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Old 04-26-2009, 03:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question PC build suggestion (somewhat cheap, but scalable to a powerful one)

Hi, everyone.
First of all, although I won't build a "high performance" PC right now, I do want to have the way open to grow it when I can (hopefully, in the next months, but that could also take various months / a couple of years).

I've had my current PC for about 4/5 years now. I'm not a gamer, the last one I played heavily was Quake 3 Arena (and it's been a while), but I wouldn't say I'll stay away from games for sure (maybe I will if I have the HW).

I'm a Web and Desktop Developer, so the everyday software I use are 3 or 4 Java applications, Photoshop 3CS, my always on-line Apache web server, Firefox, Safari and some others (at the same time). I tend to watch TV on-line, so Flash streaming is somewhat relevant too

My current PC uses...
Mobo Gigabyte GA-K8VM800M
Micro AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (2.2GHz)
RAM 1GB DDR 400 PC3200 Kingston (KVR400x64C3A/1G CL3)
Graphics nVidia GForce FX-5500
HD 2 Seagate SATA (120GB + 250GB) —I don't remember which ones, though
PSU CoolMaster 500W
Monitor LG L1718s
An unknown case, and some peripherals.

The bigger problem I see is the Mobo. It didn't allow me to expand the RAM when I tried (and I've suffered because of it), and the socket 754 is now obsolete. Therefore, I'm thinking on getting an AM2+ Mobo with the hope it will allow me to have a descent PC easily upgradable for the next few years.

Also, I'm thinking on getting another monitor to use with my current LG so a Graphics Card with support for two monitors would be a nice suggestion —or is it better to add a second card? Is it worth it?.

I want to get/build the fundamentals for a scalable system, and what I'd like (finally) is to...
  • Invest little money (<= $500)
  • A solid Mobo (I guess Gigabyte / ASUS?) not so sensitive to "different" RAM DIMMs
  • About 2GB+ RAM DDR2, easily upgradable
  • An efficient micro < 100W (I'm thinking on the a cheap AMD 64 X2 7750+, ~$72)
  • A suggestion on a good Case (I don't need anything fancy).
Also, do you see any problems on combining this with what I have?. BTW, I'm not in the US, in case that matters.

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.
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Old 04-26-2009, 04:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC build suggestion (somewhat cheap, but scalable to a powerful one)

Newegg.com - AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma 2.7GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache 2MB L3 Cache Socket AM2+ 95W Dual-Core black edition Processor - Processors - Desktops
Newegg.com - G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory - Desktop Memory
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-MA770-UD3 AM2+/AM2 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard - AMD Motherboards
Newegg.com - CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Power Supplies
Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER ELITE 335 RC-335-KKN1-GP Black SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Computer Cases
Newegg.com - Pioneer Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner - CD / DVD Burners
Newegg.com - Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive - Internal Hard Drives
Newegg.com - XFX HD-465X-ZDH4 Radeon HD 4650 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
Total comes to $495.92

You might be able to get away with onboard video, but I'm not sure what desktop dev. entails, so I figured a low profile card might do ya one better. I also didn't include windows because it wasn't mentioned you needing a copy. If you do need a copy, I can edit the build a bit and squeeze it in there. The video card is the cheapest 4650 I could find that had dual DVI and that was a good brand.
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Old 04-26-2009, 11:20 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC build suggestion (somewhat cheap, but scalable to a powerful one)

Thank you for your reply. I know little about HW and I'm not in the US, so it will take me a while to analyze your suggestions and look for them here (or for possible replacements).

So I guess it wasn't a bad choice after all? (Around here it costs ~$ 72)

Interesting... that one is ~$95, and the GA-MA780G-UD3H Hybrid (ATI 3200 512MB) is ~$110, so I'm thinking on getting the second one. Maybe there's something I don't get, but I would expect the latter one to be more expensive than it is.
—I'm thinking on getting this one to make it work together with my old FX-5500, can it be done?

Does that mean my current PSU is no good? —I'll try to look into it later to add the description.

No luck here. I didn't even find anything of G.SKILL. I found a Kingston 2GB 800MHz DDR2 DIMM (kvr800d2n5/2G) in ~$25, a Kingston Hyperx 2GB 800MHz DDR2 DIMM (khx6400d2k2/2G) in ~$39, and a 2x2GB VDATA 800MHz pack in ~$45 (but I'm not fond of ADATA).
Edit: There's also a Kingston Hyperx 4GB 800MHz (khx6400d2k2/4g) in ~$50, and a Kingston Hyperx 2GB 1066MHz (khx8500d2k2/2g) in ~$42... I like the latter.

So far, that would be ~$230 for now. And that's a good number


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
Total comes to $495.92

You might be able to get away with onboard video, but I'm not sure what desktop dev. entails, so I figured a low profile card might do ya one better. I also didn't include windows because it wasn't mentioned you needing a copy. If you do need a copy, I can edit the build a bit and squeeze it in there. The video card is the cheapest 4650 I could find that had dual DVI and that was a good brand.
I'll check the rest later. Thank you, again.
—I think I might need a copy of Windows (XP, though), but I'll check that later.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC build suggestion (somewhat cheap, but scalable to a powerful one)

Yea that second one would work just fine. As long as your FX 5500 is connected via PCI and not AGP you can use it still. However, you cannot use your FX 5500 along with the onboard video or another video card in Crossfire since they are not compatible with eachother.

Your current PSU is just fine, I only through in that PSU because I'm so used to it! Sorry, I must have missed that fact you still have one!

I suggested 4GB of RAM because I figured it would help out in Photoshop and some other apps you use. It's also just so cheap these days, with your budget it's easy to put in 4GB. You're fine with DDR2 800. You won't notice any difference using 1066 instead of 800. Kingston is a fine brand, the HyperX 4GB DDR2 800 set will suite you well.

You can tack on $100 for Vista or XP, whatever you wish. But keep in mind, XP isn't always going to be around with support. Plus Vista is a fine operating system now. If you do choose to use more than 2GB of RAM you will want to use the 64-bit edition of either to be able to use all of your memory.

If you're really tryin to keep costs down that motherboard with the AMD proc and 2GB or 4GB of DDR2-800 is a fine path to take. You will notice a nice performance boost in your day to day tasks.

Hope I was able to help! Feel free to post the rest of your questions!
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC build suggestion (somewhat cheap, but scalable to a powerful one)

where are you located?
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Smile Re: PC build suggestion (somewhat cheap, but scalable to a powerful one)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
Yea that second one would work just fine. As long as your FX 5500 is connected via PCI and not AGP you can use it still. However, you cannot use your FX 5500 along with the onboard video or another video card in Crossfire since they are not compatible with eachother.
So the answer is no :P Well, if I get the 780G I don't think I'll need it anymore, but then I get back to the issue of supporting two monitors again. If I were to get the 780G, what kind of Video Card would be compatible? The one you suggested, for instance? —What's CrossFire?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
Your current PSU is just fine, I only through in that PSU because I'm so used to it! Sorry, I must have missed that fact you still have one!
NP

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
I suggested 4GB of RAM because I figured it would help out in Photoshop and some other apps you use. It's also just so cheap these days, with your budget it's easy to put in 4GB. You're fine with DDR2 800. You won't notice any difference using 1066 instead of 800. Kingston is a fine brand, the HyperX 4GB DDR2 800 set will suite you well.
Excellent. HyperX 4GB DDR2 800MHz has a really nice ring to it. That would be first of the 4 4GB slots, so 3 to go

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
You can tack on $100 for Vista or XP, whatever you wish. But keep in mind, XP isn't always going to be around with support. Plus Vista is a fine operating system now. If you do choose to use more than 2GB of RAM you will want to use the 64-bit edition of either to be able to use all of your memory.
Yep, I was thinking on the 64-bit version, but I just can't get used to working with Vista, I just don't like it :P
—There's always Linux, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
If you're really tryin to keep costs down that motherboard with the AMD proc and 2GB or 4GB of DDR2-800 is a fine path to take. You will notice a nice performance boost in your day to day tasks.
Well, yes and no. I don't want to invest too much "senseless" right now (it's not the best moment), but I do want to build a solid foundation for incoming upgrades (and hopefully, for some years). For instance, I may not buy a Video Card now, but get an X3 processor instead (which looks good). Or even buy a Mobo that's ~50% more expensive if it's worth it looking a bit into the future.

That reminds me. Any of you having news of the end for AM2+ with the coming of AM3? If so, I might as well wait some more or go for Intel (though I don't like Intel).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
Hope I was able to help! Feel free to post the rest of your questions!
Oh, you are being a great help so far. I really appreciate it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hefemeister View Post
where are you located?
Really far, far away from the US... like, say, México
Even though we're right next to each other, tech products take a while to arrive here, or we find them overpriced —the disadvantages of being in the 3rd world... although that would be Earth, isn't?

Thank you again for your help. I'll check on this a bit more and let you know what I decided (and ask some more).
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC build suggestion (somewhat cheap, but scalable to a powerful one)

The one I first recomended would work just fine for you. Any PCI or PCI-E video card that supports two video outputs will work.

Well, I'm not sure what 4GB stick you have in mind, but theirs a good chance it's 2x2GB sticks. A single 4GB stick would do you just fine. However, if you plan on maxing out all 4 DIMM slots, make sure your motherboard will support 16GB of RAM. If you for some reason find you need that much memory haha.

Linux is always a good option if you're willing to tinker and learn a bit. We have a whole section in our forum for Linux. I suggest Ubuntu for your first linux distro. Myself and others use it and like it a lot. Ubuntu 9.04 was just released and it's fantastic.

You could go with an X3. I'm sure AM2+ is going to be around for awhile. If you're concerned with a good upgrade path for the future, an AM3 mobo is a good option. You could get a motherboard that supports AM3 as well as AM2+ if you wan't to get an AM2+ for now.

Intel is releasing a new socket with a new processor series (Core i5) later this year. It's going to be cheaper than the Core i7s. Not a lot, but it will be cheaper.

But for your budget and what you want to do with it, AMD is just fine.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: PC build suggestion (somewhat cheap, but scalable to a powerful one)

Well... the one I have at hand is a Cool Master Centurion 534 ~$58, which seems appropriate. Nothing fancy, but it seems it has good ventilation and looks solid enough.

Not looking for an optical drive, but it looks nice... in my times DVD burners where a lot more expensive, I guess it has been a while after all.

I've seen this one popping up a lot around here, and it looks really good. Too bad I didn't find it (let alone the price being anything similar).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
Newegg.com - XFX HD-465X-ZDH4 Radeon HD 4650 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card - Desktop Graphics / Video Cards
The video card is the cheapest 4650 I could find that had dual DVI and that was a good brand.
Nice one. I found a XFX HD-465X-ZDFC HD4650 1GB DDR2 DUAL DVI TV PCI-E 2 ~$100 (which doesn't seem to be listed in newegg), and I didn't find the difference (aside from the model).

Edit: It doesn't have VGA/D-Sub output, but they provide a DVI/D-Sub adapter, so at least 1 port is DVI-I. I didn't find anything than confirms it, though. Anybody know?

So ~$380 for now and its looking good.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
The one I first recomended would work just fine for you. Any PCI or PCI-E video card that supports two video outputs will work.
Is it better than the 780G?, is it just not worth it the +$15?, or it's simply a better choice for the intended usage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
Well, I'm not sure what 4GB stick you have in mind, but theirs a good chance it's 2x2GB sticks. A single 4GB stick would do you just fine. However, if you plan on maxing out all 4 DIMM slots, make sure your motherboard will support 16GB of RAM. If you for some reason find you need that much memory haha.
I don't think I'll have more than 4GB in place, though I won't say 64kB RAM is more than enough BTW, does it impact performance having 1 instead of 2 DIMMs? Or is it the same? Or there's no way I would notice it? I was thinking on getting a 1x4GB DIMM, but 2x2GB is more practical (and pricy) should one of them fail —though, that hasn't happened once in the years I've had my Kingston DIMMs.

Edit: It seems the 1x4GB DIMM got out of stock while I was looking here and there, so now I'm thinking on getting 2x2GB DIMM for ~$50. Could anybody explain what HyperX is? How better is the performance? Is it worth it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
Linux is always a good option if you're willing to tinker and learn a bit. We have a whole section in our forum for Linux. I suggest Ubuntu for your first linux distro. Myself and others use it and like it a lot. Ubuntu 9.04 was just released and it's fantastic.
Thank you for the support. I have both in dual boot (with Grub), though I seldom change OS (it's bothersome). It's always good though, "just in case".

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtis View Post
You could go with an X3. I'm sure AM2+ is going to be around for awhile. If you're concerned with a good upgrade path for the future, an AM3 mobo is a good option. You could get a motherboard that supports AM3 as well as AM2+ if you wan't to get an AM2+ for now.

Intel is releasing a new socket with a new processor series (Core i5) later this year. It's going to be cheaper than the Core i7s. Not a lot, but it will be cheaper.

But for your budget and what you want to do with it, AMD is just fine.
OK, I'll stick with AMD. And yes, I think both Mobo's where AMD2/AMD2+/AM3 compatible (again, just in case)

Edit: BTW, I was seeing some reviews and it seems for now, AMD2+ micros are above AM3 ones in performance; of course, waiting for the ones to come. But I wonder, with those micros out already, should I go for an AM3 board? What features would I loos should I use an AM3 micro in a AM2+ board?

Thank you again.
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