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Thread: Advice on new computer components

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    Advice on new computer components

    Hi all,

    Am thinking of building a new computer – my current computer is a 2500 XP, so you can see why.

    Have the current specs in mind:

    Core 2 Duo E8400
    Asus P5Q-E
    Antec P182
    1TB Samsung Spinpoint Hard Drive (for Media)
    500GB Samsung Spinpoint Hard Drive (for OS)
    Pioneer DVR-215
    4GB Corsair DDR2 PC2-8500
    Sapphire Radion HD 4850
    Corsair TX 750W

    I generally don’t play any games (but I suppose this could change if I had a computer that could actually play anything half decent) but do lots of DVD burning and video editing (from programmes taken off my PVR and Camcorder) and music creation on Cubase. I also do not Overclock.

    Would be grateful for you opinions on the following:

    *Are there any of the above components that you think are overkill, not good enough or simply have better alternatives? Or are there any components that I am missing but should think about adding?

    *I have been looking online for part prices and have noticed that there are huge variations in price. Where is the best place to get all the components? Are there any particular places for particular components you can recommend or are there single online shops that would be best for the vast majority of the bits?

    *For the OS HDD, would it be better to get two 250GB instead of the 500GB and run these as Raid 0. Everything important would be saved on the TB HDD (which would be backed up on another computer), so I am not worried about the data loss problem if one of the HDDs failing in this array, but is running like this so much better than a single HDD in what is already a very fast computer? I suspect that this may well be overkill but again would be grateful for you opinions.

    *With regards the OS, I shall be putting XP on for the time being and will probably get Windows 7 when it comes out. Is it worth buying the 64-bit version to make use of all that RAM? What are the pros and cons of this as opposed to the 32-bit version and which would you recommend (I have heard that certain programmes and hardware are less compatible with the former).

    Sorry for so many questions, the more you look into it, the more you realise you don't know - a bit like life.

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    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on new computer components

    I would be looking at scan and ebuyer mainly. Novatech are good for cheapy bits too

    Your components are dated by almost a year now I would say.

    Check out AMD's AM3 offerings in motherboards and CPU's.

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...A-RAID-ATX-VGA

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-P...he-125W-Retail

    matched to some DDR3 RAM.

    The 1TB drive will be faster than the 500GB drive, perhaps try a 640GB instead or 320Gb single platter drive (hard to be sure that they are). If you get a 4850, get a sapphire vapour x from novatech. Nice and cheap with a fantastic cooler

    PSU is overkill. 500W will be more than enough, anything from corsair, enermax, bequiet or OCZ will be good

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    Re: Advice on new computer components

    Reliable online suppliers I would go with:
    1.)Scan - once you have 20+ posts on Hexus you can get free next day postage with them for orders over £20 excluding VAT.Also has daily specila offers for items on the Today Only webpage and weekly offers on the shop offers webpage.
    2.)Ebuyer - free postage for orders over £49.99.
    3.)Novatech - free postage on all items IIRC.
    4.)Dabs.

    I would ditch the E8400 and Asus P5Q-E as they are very poor value for money!! I would look at getting a quad core Phenom II for the same price as they tend to have better performance for video encoding then equivalent Intel processors at a similar price.

    ATI cards and Nvidia cards can be used to accelerate video transcoding too however IIRC the Nvidia cards have better developed software at the moment for this purpose.

    Also the PSU you have selected is OTT for the purpose!

    This is what I would look at getting instead:

    AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2 GHz ~ £147

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/164047

    Gigabyte GA-MA770-UD3 ~ £57

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/159073

    Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 1066MHz/PC2-8500 HyperX Memory ~ £39

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/148859

    If you want a bit more performance stick with the Phenom II X4 955 and use an AM3 motherboard and DDR3 RAM:

    Phenom II X4 955 ~ £147

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-P...he-125W-Retail

    Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P ~ £69

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/GIGAB...770T-UD3P-MOBO

    This motherboard has got excellent reviews.

    4gb 1333mhz DDR3 RAM ~ £53

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/4GB-%...d-CAS-9-9-9-24

    Other bits:

    Be Quiet 550W Dark Power Pro Modular PSU ~ £83

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/150426

    Zotac GTS250 512MB DDR3 ~ £83

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/160711

    or

    Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 Vapour-X 512MB ~ £80

    http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/s...tml?SAP-4850VX

    There are cheaper HD4850 cards available but this is the best one IMHO.

    Here are some reviews of the Phenom II X4 955:

    http://techreport.com/articles.x/16796/8

    http://www.guru3d.com/article/amd-ph...review-test/13

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/cpu...tion-cpu-am3/8

    Video encoding software tends to take advantage of multiple cores.

    The motherboard has all solid capacitors and higher copper content which means a longer lifespan in theory:

    http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/...ProductID=2982
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 18-07-2009 at 12:55 AM.


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    Re: Advice on new computer components

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    Reliable online suppliers I would go with:
    1.)Scan - once you have 20+ posts on Hexus you can get free next day postage with them for orders over £20 excluding VAT.Also has daily specila offers for items on the Today Only webpage and weekly offers on the shop offers webpage.
    link for the info
    http://forums.hexus.net/scan-care-he...tup-guide.html
    http://forums.hexus.net/scan-care-he...0-07-08-a.html

    As for 64-bit, go for it as long as your PVR/Camcorder and the relevent software work on it, as it is faster, and you will get all your RAM, not just 3.2GB(ish) of it

    Also for PSU, http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/450W-...-year-Warranty would probably do it, unless you plan on adding lots more HDD's, ect. (Corsair HX450)

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    Re: Advice on new computer components

    Many thanks for that - much appreciated.

    I have had a look on the net and it does seem that it would be worth sticking the OS on a Western Digital Caviar Black.

    Also seems to me that, from looking around, that it would be worth future proofing my machine and swapping the E8400 for a Q9550 - would you agree this is sensible?

    With regards the PSU, would 550W also give me some head room for a few extra HDDs, fans, a TV Card, sound card and maxing my RAM in the future? - one thing that I am sure is that I would not be interested in getting two Graphics cards or anything major like that.

    With regards the Video Card - I have had a quick look at the 4850 and noticed that there are some problems with its size, heat and compatibility. Do you guys recommend this particular card? (I know that you have to take every review you read with a pinch of salt because nothing is perfect) or would you recommend something else? - many reviewers seem to favour nvidia cards. Also noted that there are many types of 4850 cards (which I hadn't appreciated)and if you still recommend this, which particular type?

    Thanks again for the advice, much better than trying to learn sifting through 6 months of computer magazines!

  6. #6
    finding nemo staffsMike's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on new computer components

    The GTX250 CAT recommended is a good price/[performance card from nvidia that said the vapour x card is usually very highly rated as far as I have seen, it's probably what I would buy. that said I'm an nvidia man usually. Either card would be good

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    Re: Advice on new computer components

    Quote Originally Posted by elsmandino View Post

    Also seems to me that, from looking around, that it would be worth future proofing my machine and swapping the E8400 for a Q9550 - would you agree this is sensible?
    No! The AMD Phenom II X4 955BE is cheaper than the Q9550 and faster in video encoding too and together with the excellent 770 motherboards are simply better value for money. Why are you so in love with the E8400 when you can get a faster setup for less or similar money?? I have a Q6600 currently but unless I was going for an i7 or for one of the 65w Intel low energy quads I would go for either the Phenom II X4 940 and 955 as they have superior performance for the price over similarly priced Intel processors especially for video encoding.

    Also remember the 45nm Phenom II is a very different beast from the 65nm Phenom. I still regard the latter as an EPIC fail in many ways.


    Quote Originally Posted by elsmandino View Post

    With regards the Video Card - I have had a quick look at the 4850 and noticed that there are some problems with its size, heat and compatibility. Do you guys recommend this particular card? (I know that you have to take every review you read with a pinch of salt because nothing is perfect) or would you recommend something else? - many reviewers seem to favour nvidia cards. Also noted that there are many types of 4850 cards (which I hadn't appreciated)and if you still recommend this, which particular type?

    Thanks again for the advice, much better than trying to learn sifting through 6 months of computer magazines!
    The HD4850 is an excellent card and TBH most of the reviewers who say it has heat and size problems are fanbois!! The HD4850 was smaller than the 9800GTX+ and consumed less power too. The GTS250 is a rebadged version of the 9800GTX+ with lower power consumption. Both cards are very similar in performance too. Since you are not very worried about games look at which one is better for your video encoding needs and I would check the software support too as it can be a big improvement in speed over the CPU only. The HD4850 Vapor X is the best HD4850 IMHO as it has an excellent cooler and runs cooler as a result. It also has lower power consumption too than other HD4850 cards.
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 18-07-2009 at 04:28 PM.


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