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So I'm thinking about building a new desktop
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NickKmet
I Eat Granola Bars


Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 3192

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 1:49 pm    Post subject: So I'm thinking about building a new desktop Reply with quote

Basically, I'm starting to think about constructing a new desktop for grad school next year (and into the future). While my laptop works great for gaming, I've started to run into issues when using my music editing/composing software - mostly due to processor issues and having not enough RAM to feel comfortable.

So really, I'm looking for advice on components. I don't plan on actually doing this for several months (probably not until maybe August), but I'm just trying to do some background research and figure out what I want. I'll probably look into rigs that other music tech people use, but I know you guys better and frankly trust that you'll know components better than them.

So here's what I need:
Fast processor, capable of handling very heavy loads. My laptop currently has a QX93000 quad core, and I've been pushing to the limit recently
16 gigs of memory minimum, with maybe the option to upgrade?
Fast HDD to facilitate audio sampling (and possible even a good sized SSD for this)
A good sound card.
2 large monitors
Blu-Ray/DVD player
motherboard with eSATA ports.

I'll probably also want a pretty decent graphics card. I'm not too set on getting something that's top of the line, but something more powerful than my current laptop configuration, which is a 2X SLI GTX 260M set up.

This'll be my first build, but I'm not particularly nervous. I've poked around in my laptop enough times to not be afraid that I'll destroy something. The only thing that really concerns me is buying a CPU and motherboard separate and putting that together, applying thermal paste, etc. It just seems like something I'd fuck up.

There's also the possibility that I could simply build this system to run as a slave with my laptop, but that's completely new territory for me as well.

Price Range: right now, no minimum. I'm not sure what kind of money I'll have, but I don't want to limit myself on hardware until right before I actually get started on the build.

Anyways, ADVISE ME.
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daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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madster111
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Joined: 04 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LETS NERD IT UP.

First of all, if you're going to be doing this in a few months, you'll probably want a Haswell build. If you don't know what haswell is, google, if you do then know that the lastest leak on the unlocked i7 is that it does 7ghz on all 4 cores, and judging by sandy and ivy bridge that means the i5 should hit 7.5ghz, possibly even 8ghz once.

Now, if you're doing a lot of audio stuff that requires a lot of space, you'll want a 120gb SSD for all the programs and perhaps RAID1 some 1tb HDDs for peace of mind. Depending on budget, you can go 1x 120gb SSD, 2x 2tb HDDs in RAID 1, 1x 1tb HDD for whatever, and this will (on some boards - others have 10x sata) leave you with a spare SATA port if you need a DVD drive (I have a very pretty LG Blu-Ray drive, which has been used exactly once since i bought it to reinstall windows. It has not been in my PC for over 10 months).

16gb of ram should be the sweet spot for your setup, 2x 8gb in dual channel. 1600mhz will do fine, so get some ram with good timings and all should be well.

Now, the 'good sound card' bit. What's your speaker/headphone setup? Because remember, HDMI is digital so if your setup supports it, you can ignore all the PC sound cards (which aren't audophile enough anyway) and run an external DAC, or a bunch of motherboards have TOSLINK output.

How much gaming do you do? Are you gonna need SLI/Crossfire or will, say, 1x HD7850 or GTX670 work well?
This also matters for the monitors. Do you do a lot of graphical design, or does screen real estate matter hugely for you programs?
Because you could either run 120hz 1080p monitors, or 60hz 1440/1600p.
So, 3840x1080 @ 120hz vs 5120x1440 @ 60hz.
That also depends on your budget.


Don't worry too much about building it, as it's really easy. Much easier than working on laptops. God, i still have nightmares from replacing my screen and wireless card. All those tiny screws and ribbon cables *shudder*

If you want me to write you up a current-hardware build just get back to me and i'll throw something together for both $1500 and $2000 price points, but remember it'll probably all change once haswell starts being stocked.
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LawnGnome



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, wait for Haswell to come out (should be in June). If the performance on those turns out to be overblown, it'll at least slash the prices on Ivy Bridge. Even just a current IB i7 will give you several times the performance of what you're using now.

We need some more specifics on your audio needs. Unless you're going 7.1 surround or something you might not even need the separate sound card as most motherboards & graphics cards have pretty good audio on them these days. Otherwise, everything madster said is good.
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NickKmet
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I don't expect to build until the end of the summer, when I'll have money. So I can easily wait for the new Haswell chips to come out, and either get one of those, or something from a previous generation at a lower price.

I will need lots of HDD space. My laptop currently has two HDDs, totaling about 750GB between them, and they're both pretty full. I'm torn on using the SSD to hold programs and the OS, or using it just for my large sample libraries. The problem is that that the sample library I currently use will total about 113GB once I get the upgraded version. I'm not sure I'd need a RAID setup (I've never had a disk failure), but I can see the benefit. Pairing an SSD with 2 TB of disk space would be more than enough to hold all the stuff I could want on the computer. I would like to try and leave some space on the board for future upgrades though - there are some sample libraries that I'd like to get in the future that require very large amounts of disk space, and usually come shipped pre-loaded onto a drive for you to install. So extra motherboard room for that would be nice.

I'm fairly certain I'm going to want space for a Blu Ray/DVD drive - my planned career path is going to take me into writing music for movies and other digital formats, so some kind of disc drive is going to be necessary most likely.

I think 16gb of ram will be fine. Right now, loading a full orchestra's worth of samples takes up about 4-6gb of RAM, so 16 should be enough to cover my needs for a long time.

My reason for considering a sound card comes down to the needs of my audio programs. The audio driver that I currently use with my programs is ASIO - anything else will cause a lot of latency and big issues with performance. There are lots of issues related to ASIO and how it works that make having a dedicated audio card make sense. Eventually I'll be composing using a 7.1 set up and will want something that can handle that.

Gaming wise, I do a pretty heft amount of gaming. I don't know how much I'll be doing in the future, but my PC is my platform of choice. I have an extensive steam library which I take great advantage of. SLI would be nice, but I don't need 2 of the most powerful cards on the market. Having a good GPU is necessary though, both for my gaming needs, but also because I'll be using programs that integrate audio and video components, and will need to be able to process HD video with low latency.

I don't need the monitors for graphical design - all of my stuff is music. My desire for 2 large monitors though is based entirely on a need for high real estate. I currently use two monitors (my laptop screen is native 1920x1200, the external monitor is 1280x1024) and often still feel like I could use a bit more space. I've seen setups by film composers that utilize anywhere for 3-6 monitors just so they don't have to be moving lots of tabs around, but I think 2 large monitors is enough for me to get by with on what I'm doing currently.

I would appreciate seeing some possible builds, Madster. Those price points seem good. I'm really just trying to get myself some good groundwork on what I'll need, and seeing a few builds would help with that.
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Kapow wrote:
daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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LawnGnome



Joined: 25 Apr 2007
Posts: 924

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're waiting until the end of summer then I wouldn't even bother with hypothetical builds right now. Too much new stuff is coming out over the next couple months (Haswell, GTX 780, new mobos) so it's best just to wait and see. Be sure to save that money up though if you want to get all the latest stuff....... And now you've made me jealous. Bastard.
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NickKmet
I Eat Granola Bars


Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LawnGnome wrote:
If you're waiting until the end of summer then I wouldn't even bother with hypothetical builds right now. Too much new stuff is coming out over the next couple months (Haswell, GTX 780, new mobos) so it's best just to wait and see. Be sure to save that money up though if you want to get all the latest stuff....... And now you've made me jealous. Bastard.


lol, sorry LawnGnome. I'll probably be paying for most of it using money I'll be getting for grad school. But yeah, I'll probably be waiting.
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Kapow wrote:
daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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madster111
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Joined: 04 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the build in another 3-4 months will be entirely different from now. Haswell and the GTX7xx series are set to be a killer combination, and there's too many variables. For example, i THINK i5 haswell are going to run dual channel ram, but i just don't know. You could end up with 32gb in quad channel.

If you get 2x 1920x1080 screens and also use your current external monitor, you should have decent screen real estate. Only thing i'm worried about is that 1080 part. Seems to me like you might want more vertical real estate. The only problem with going 2x 2560x1440 monitors, however, is that they're so expensive they'll properly cut into your budget. 2x decent ones would mean a minimum of $800, which leaves only $1200 for your PC which needs a good dedicated soundcard ($100-200). Now, a decent haswell build SHOULD run under $1k, but that means you're going to be looking at the $2000-2500 price range once you factor in keyboard, mice and misc cables.

I'd still ignore sandy/ivy bridge in favor of Haswell, though. It's not just faster, but uses less power and makes less heat, so it's set to be all-around better.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h8_F-_a6ko
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NickKmet
I Eat Granola Bars


Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well in that case, I'll wait.

Overall, I think price shouldn't be a major issue. I think $2500 would be an absolute maximum, but I'll be paying for most of it with loan money, so eh.
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Kapow wrote:
daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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madster111
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Joined: 04 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So the go-to build now is Z87, with an i5-4670K, 16gb of DDR3 and a GTX770, which is more than enough for pretty much anything you want to do. If you have more money, that changes to an i7-4770K and GTX780.

You still looking to build a desktop?
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NickKmet
I Eat Granola Bars


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yeah, it'll probably be another few months or so. I don't think I'm going to do it until I move to New York.
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Kapow wrote:
daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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Green_Lantern
Spacecataz


Joined: 06 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been thinking ill upgrade when the GTX 880 comes out...I've been out of the CPU loop though.
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madster111
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Green_Lantern wrote:
I've been thinking ill upgrade when the GTX 880 comes out...I've been out of the CPU loop though.

You'll probably be doing it the same as i will, then. The haswell refresh is set to be out mid-2014 (Think sandy vs ivy bridge), which will coincide with the next-gen SSDs and possibly the GTX8xx series late 2014. I'll probably end up with a HD8xxx series for the cheapness factor, though.
Z97 + i5-5xxx (Broadwell-D) + 16/32gb DDR4 + HD8970/GTX880 + 2x 256gb SSDs seems like the way to go next year for performance.

NickKmet wrote:
yeah, it'll probably be another few months or so. I don't think I'm going to do it until I move to New York.

Aight man, post up when you're ready to build and we can check the deals at the time. Newegg might have some nice combo going on.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h8_F-_a6ko
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Lethean
Big Fat Poo Head Who Ignores GR


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Green_Lantern wrote:
I've been thinking ill upgrade when the GTX 880 comes out...I've been out of the CPU loop though.


That's what I'll do as well. I just bought a GTX T660 SC in February and while the 770 offers great performance, it's 400 dollars. I'm not gaming at anything higher than 1080p right now so I'd rather save 200 dollars, drop another GTX 660 in there. Maybe even save more once prices (hopefully) drop in the near future. If I was gaming on a higher resolution or had that kind of money to burn I'd get the 770 but honestly, my 660 isn't having any issues playing most games maxed out save for Crysis 3 which I'm getting 22-27FPS which I've gotten kind of used to with frame rate limitations on consoles anyways haha.
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NickKmet
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So this really blows. It looks like my next purchase has to be a Mac, thanks to industry standards in my industry (film music). If I don't get one, it's going to make these two years of graduate school the experience from hell. So.... either I build a mega pc, and somehow emulate apple osx (which is unreliable at best), and just bootcamp an overpriced Mac for my gaming needs.

At least the MacBook Pro has a better GPU than what I have in my Alienware laptop currently, so I'll personally see a bump in performance.

Most likely I'll build a gaming PC later down the line, but I don't think I can justify spending 3 grand on a Mac and then another 2.5k on a PC all at once.

Honestly, I'm kind of pissed. But I don't have much of a choice at this point.
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Kapow wrote:
daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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madster111
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OSx86.

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2013/06/the-complete-guide-to-building-a-hackintosh-os-x-10-8-4/


If you need a macbook for some reason:
http://wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/HCL_10.6.8/Portables#Samsung

Tell anybody who says anything about it not being a mac to get the fuck off our planet, because 'industry standards' are not compatible with the way Earths economy works. Apple has a retarded monopoly in the music/movie industry for some reason, which is great if you hate innovation and reasonable pricing.
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NickKmet
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2013 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Madster, do you have an extra Windows 7 key by any chance?
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Kapow wrote:
daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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madster111
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually just took a look at the bottom of my laptops properly for once, and have since discovered how MS make their money.

By making piece of shit paper stickers that allow the key to rub off. On all 3 of the bastards, the key is either completely gone or unreadable enough to be useless.

I like how they can afford to laminate the little blue 'Windows 7' sticker they use to advertise next to my keyboard, but not the actual crucial bit.

Whatever. If you need a key to activate Win7, ignore the whole 'key' bit and get yourself an activator from TPB or similar.
IIRC, my desktop and indeed this laptop i'm typing on are both running DAZ's activator and have worked flawlessly. This is mainly because the Ultimate torrent had the most seeds and i only had Home Premium keys (maybe 1 business/ultimate on my gaming laptop).

I could try to scrounge around some boxes and see if my old-ass 18" toshiba's key is still legible if you really need it for some reason, but i don't have high hopes.
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NickKmet
I Eat Granola Bars


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madster111 wrote:
I actually just took a look at the bottom of my laptops properly for once, and have since discovered how MS make their money.

By making piece of shit paper stickers that allow the key to rub off. On all 3 of the bastards, the key is either completely gone or unreadable enough to be useless.

I like how they can afford to laminate the little blue 'Windows 7' sticker they use to advertise next to my keyboard, but not the actual crucial bit.

Whatever. If you need a key to activate Win7, ignore the whole 'key' bit and get yourself an activator from TPB or similar.
IIRC, my desktop and indeed this laptop i'm typing on are both running DAZ's activator and have worked flawlessly. This is mainly because the Ultimate torrent had the most seeds and i only had Home Premium keys (maybe 1 business/ultimate on my gaming laptop).

I could try to scrounge around some boxes and see if my old-ass 18" toshiba's key is still legible if you really need it for some reason, but i don't have high hopes.


yeah, that's why I always write down my keys as soon as I get a new Windows product. They always wear off. I'd been hoping to avoid a crack, since I know that those often get ruined with Windows update, but I may give that one a shot. Otherwise, I might try using the key from my old laptop, even though I'm still sort of using it. I guess I could de-authorize that one and put a crack on that since I barely expect to touch it now.
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Kapow wrote:
daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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madster111
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To date, there's only 1 update that messes with non-genuine copies of Windows 7, and it's unchecked by default in Windows update. You just right click on it and select 'hide update' and it's gone forever.
Even stuff like Microsoft Silverlight and MSE work perfectly. To be honest, i'm not sure MS actually give a shit.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h8_F-_a6ko
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NickKmet
I Eat Granola Bars


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

madster111 wrote:
To date, there's only 1 update that messes with non-genuine copies of Windows 7, and it's unchecked by default in Windows update. You just right click on it and select 'hide update' and it's gone forever.
Even stuff like Microsoft Silverlight and MSE work perfectly. To be honest, i'm not sure MS actually give a shit.


well since they're pushing windows 8 so hard, probably not. I'm having some issues getting bootcamp to install the damned partition, and it may be because the only version of windows I could find includes all the versions. Getting an iso of a basic install disc is.... almost impossible. I'd just use my own, except that it's an upgrade copy, and I can't do a fresh install with that.
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Kapow wrote:
daylight savings time was introduced under a democratic congress. pretty clear that this is part of the liberal global warming farce, if we are extending daylight hours, of course temperatures will rise, THERES MORE DAYLIGHT!
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