First time system builder

Discussion in 'Computers' started by KyleK, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. KyleK

    KyleK Second Unit

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    Tell me what you think of the system I am putting together:

    Antec Sonata II 450 Watt case & power
    Emprex 16x DVD dual layer burner
    Hitachi 250 GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA hard drive
    ATI All-in-Wonder X 600 Pro 265 DDR PCI Express
    LanPartyUT DFI nF4 Ultra-D mother board
    AMD Athlon 64 Processon 3000+ 939 Socket
    1 GB Corsair matched memory pair

    I am planning on using the system for video editing, photoshop and other general stuff. I got the all-in-wonder video card on a recommendation from a friend, however I have been told that it might be a bit of an older one and may not play the newest games (although gaming is not my primary concern). I definitely have the option of returning parts if I find out that I need something better. Altogether the parts cost about $1000.

    Prior to this I had very little hardware experience, but I sure am learning fast!
     
  2. Harris_C

    Harris_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Looks pretty good to me for what you are planning on doing.
     
  3. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i agree, looks pretty good. if you plan on editing video and using photoshop a lot, i would make sure to leave as many ram slots free as possible. that way, when you upgrade ram (photoshop loves to gobble ram), you will just be putting new sticks into the empty slots, not taking out smaller ones to put in bigger ones. best of luck.

    CJ
     
  4. Ari

    Ari Stunt Coordinator

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    For a photoshop machine, you should consider getting two or more hard drives so you can separate the OS, program files, paging file and ps scratch disk (highly recommended)...and you'd probably want to ghost everything to another HD if you're anal. You might also want to consider adding more RAM. You didn't mention getting a monitor so I assume you're using one from a previous build...the monitor's critical for any ps work...

    2D work such as photo & video doesn't need a recent video card....Radeon 9200 works fine for this purpose although you'd probably want to upgrade if you're planning to do any 3d stuff at all. Mine crashes when I use Google Earth....
     
  5. Jim Lyles

    Jim Lyles Auditioning

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    I second the recommendation on the second harddrive. Something quick like a Raptor will be great or a nice WD SE drive (8mb cache). Corsair is great memory! I would look at getting a tad more ram for editing purposes; although 1gig will get you started nicely.[​IMG]
     
  6. KyleK

    KyleK Second Unit

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    Hey guys-

    Thanks for the responses, they have been quite helpful. I booted it up today and it is pretty sweet! As Ari pointed out I haven't gotten a new monitor yet, I am using some dinosaur I just found laying around. Can anyone recommend me a quality, reasonably priced monitor in the $150-$250 range? LCD is preferable, around 17in.

    Also someone told me I should get another fan. I already have the 120mm fan that came in the case, the cpu heatsink fan and two small ones on the motherboard and videocard. Do I really need another one? And if so where should I mount it?

    Thanks,
    Kyle[​IMG]
     
  7. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    I'm not to sure of the X600's pro potential for gaming but a great bang for your buck card is the nVidia 6600 GT.
     
  8. Ari

    Ari Stunt Coordinator

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    LCD just isn't as good as CRT when it comes to color fidelity which is critical for PS work, plus CRT is cheaper than a similarly sized LCD. That being said, I'm using a Princeton Senergy 17" LCD monitor for my PS work (avid amateur level), hardware calibrated. I bought it from newegg.com for right around $250. Features that I'd look for in an LCD monitor would be DVI input and contrast level.
     
  9. Jim Lyles

    Jim Lyles Auditioning

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    Best thing I can tell you about buying a LCD is research. Look around for reviews done by websites and narrow it down. Then look at consumers opinions to really see how people like them. I just purchased a new LCD; my first one; a Hyundai L90D+. I love it, but it took some time to get the color close to what my 17" CRT looked like. CRTs are MUCH easier to setup, color wise; but if are willing to take some time and play with your LCD and video card settings, the LCD maybe the way to go!! IMO
     
  10. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    At work (I'm a web designer) we have these new Samsung LCDs. What the boss didn't count on, though, is that the ones boasting fast reponse time are usually horrible at color reproduction.

    I get home on my slow 30ms Viewsonic LCD and see colors I didn't see at work! Such a pain. I also have a CRT which is even better but for my line of work, a decent LCD will do.

    How is the Emprex brand name btw? I'm not up to date on the best buys but I do know Lite-On makes really good drives for the price.
     
  11. Ken Chui

    Ken Chui Supporting Actor

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    Even if there are no plans to overclock the CPU and/or memory, the case and CPU temps will run a bit warmer than others, I would think, due to the lack of air ducts at the front of the case (for air intake); buying another fan may not help because there are no other air ducts available in the case to install it (not unless the case was modified, or you decide to go with a different case altogether).

    I'm a fan of ATI cards, but I've always been suspect of the All-in-Wonder line. Video editing and Photoshop, IIRC, are CPU-dependent (in Photoshop's case, also RAM-dependent); you may want to consider going with a regular X600 PRO (or X700) and using the remaining funds toward more memory (which you can never have too much of for Photoshop).

    I'm not familiar with the Emprex brand of DVD burners. I think you would be better of with a Lite-On, Pioneer (check the popular DVR-109) or NEC (the ND-3520A is among the best; there's also a slightly newer, faster model, the ND-3540A).
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    this is good advice. it may seem counter-intuitive at first, but photoshop does not require a powerful video card at all. as long as you buy one that can handle higher resolutions (pretty much all name brand GPUs within the last 4 years), spend your money on a better CPU and more ram.

    CJ
     
  13. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Supporting Actor

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    system seems pretty good, only thing I would consider changing is the video card as others have said.
     
  14. KyleK

    KyleK Second Unit

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    There actually is a ventilation grill in the front of the case, but it is well hidden. I did not even notice it until a few days ago. The bottom half of the case curves out and if you look in the spaces on the side there is a grill/filter next to the hard drive slots (possible fan mounting area?).

    I'm thinking I will stick with my All-In-Wonder card for now (despite the cheesy name). I like the variety of connection and TV options it offers.

    Just to clarify, were the recommendations to change the video card based on the cost alone? Or is there something wrong with the specific card I chose?

    Ken, I was also wondering, what is it exactly that makes you suspect of the All-In-Wonder line?

    I think I will probably get some more memory once I get Photoshop up and see how it runs. Oh, and you guys converted me back to CRT! [​IMG]

    Thanks again for all the help,
    Kyle [​IMG]
     
  15. Ari

    Ari Stunt Coordinator

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    The video recommendations were because we feel that your budget could be better allocated to more important stuff.

    Since you said that gaming wasn't a priority, the video card you chose was overspec'd. 2D technology (which PS and video editing is) matured a few video card generations ago and there's really no reason to get something more recent if 2D is the emphasis. More recent video cards will work as well but you may not need that much power....
     
  16. Ken Chui

    Ken Chui Supporting Actor

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    Perhaps my fears are overexaggerated or unfounded, but I've always felt that their video decoding chips were somehow overmatched by its competitors, whether in functionality, image quality and/or stability. These chips also had a habit of affecting the 3D performance of older Radeons, but I think that's all changed with the 9700/9800 AIWs. From what I've read on PC forums, there are still lingering driver-related issues that affect video output and game performance that don't plague standalone Radeons. When I can't be in my living room and/or my PVR's schedule is tied up, I can still view TV programs on my PC through my WinFast TV2000 XP card.

    Give us your feedback on your AIW when it's up-and-running; I'm always in search of a better TV experience on my PC.
     
  17. KyleK

    KyleK Second Unit

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    Sorry it's taken me so long to post feedback (been busy!). So far I am very pleased with my new system. Maybe I'm just used to ancient pieces of junk, but when it booted up in about 25 seconds I was floored. What I have seen of the TV performance (been having cable problems) was pretty good, I've never had a TV tuner in my computer so I'm not one to comment on quality, although it looked great to me. I tried out the Doom 3 demo just to give it a challenge and was able to play it on the medium quality setting, which was still pretty amazing (and scary). Perhaps in the future I will upgrade to a separate video card and TV tuner. Are there any TV tuners that offer the connectivity of an AIW card?

    My only beef with the case is the blindingly bright blue leds on the front. Is there any way to disconnect these?

    Also, what are good system temperatures? Right now I have the 120mm fan set on high.
    Current temps are:
    CPU Core 37C
    PWM Area 39C
    Chip set 44C

    Kyle
     

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