22 Replies Latest reply on Sep 8, 2010 3:57 AM by Harm Millaard

    First PC Build


      Hi everyone,


      I've been browsing these forums for a couple weeks now, learning a lot about computers to say the least! Currently I am working for a video production company, as well as starting my own with a couple buddies...extremely excited about this . I've had a Macbook pro for four years now and only recently realized that I'm going to need to buy a new computer to be able to do what I want to do (run Premiere and After Effects CS5). I shoot with a canon T2i and will need a very fast, efficient, and reliable computer for flawless HD editing and 3D graphics. My boss builds his own computers and it seems the way to go, which is why I am switching back to PC and attempting my first build! So, I've been doing lots of research lately and have picked out some of the parts needed for the build...


      A computer friend of mine steered me away from ASUS for a mother board and suggested a MSI P55-GD85 MB



      Other selected parts:

      Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz CPU

      GE Force GTX 480 GPU

      Antec 1200 atx full tower

      BFG Tech ES-800 power supply

      Coolermaster 212 Plus CPU cooler

      Samsung Spinpoint F3 drives (not sure how many yet, still have yet to decide what RAID array I should do, it seems like Harm recommends this strongly for video editing)

      Haven't decided on memory yet, definitely doing 12gb...was thinking maybe corsair dominator?


      This is as far as I've gotten, it really does take a lot of research to figure out the best parts for my needs and best bang for the buck! I was hoping for some help choosing parts, I would greatly appreciate being steered in the right direction, thanks ahead of time!

        • 1. Re: First PC Build
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Your friend ought to learn his basics.  An i7-9xx requires a X58 mobo. An i7-8xx requires a P55 mobo, which is ill advised for video editing.


          Look at Asus or Gigabyte for a X58 mobo and look here eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Pro v2.5 for the PSU. Get the Pro version, put CPU load at 100% and capacitor aging at 30% and take 10 - 15% safety margin to calculate the required power. The Dominator is good.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: First PC Build
            John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            I don't know your camera or the codec it produces... for AVCHD what I built is linked in my CS5/AVCHD 1st Impressions



            If you need RAID for faster data access (AVCHD is highly CPU intensive, not so much of a requirement for high speed data transfer) go to http://forums.adobe.com/thread/662972?tstart=0

            • 3. Re: First PC Build
              Alex_Curry Level 1

              Ah yes, you are very correct...I should have caught that but did not look into it close enough. You are running the asus P6T WS Pro correct? What are the advantages of that MB over this gigabyte http://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128423 or the other versions of the P6T? This one for example http://http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131359&cm_re=asus_p6t-_-13 -131-359-_-Product


              I've been reading alot of your articles and many other posts on these forums and my head is absolutely spinning!! I'm a tech guy, but never worked much with computers before. Thanks for the link to the power supply calculator, once I figure out all of the parts I need I will definitely make use of that!


              This computer is being built mainly for premiere and after effects...I will be running other programs of course, but the majority of work will be video editing, photoshop and motion graphics.


              I've been reading your article "To RAID or not to RAID" and it sounds like I need a RAID 3 array...I am looking for performance and redundancy, I cannot afford to lose important files like I have many times in the past. So when I build this computer, I want to do it right the first time with everything that is necessary to let the computer run efficiently and safely. My father just pointed me towards getting a DROBO and it looks very enticing, do you have any experience with these? From what i've read, it seems like a better option than raid, especially for someone like myself who has no experience with any of this.


              I apologize for my newb questions, I know you answer these sort of things daily and it must get tiring. Any guidance here is greatly appreciated Harm, thanks alot!



              • 4. Re: First PC Build
                Alex_Curry Level 1

                Thanks for the links John...the T2i records in AVCHD as well, and I agree, very cpu intensive...my poor mac book pro struggles to play them, very choppy : (. This is why I am building an editing machine!

                • 5. Re: First PC Build
                  Harm Millaard Level 7



                  First, the Drobo is very nice for backups, nothing else and certainly not for video editing, it is way too slow.


                  Both boards you linked to (the links need to be modified to access them) have PATA on board, which is no longer needed. The Gigabyte has the advantage of 2 x IEEE 1394A ports, 2 additional SATA III ports, and the extra PCIe slots. Definitely the Gigabyte in this comparison.


                  What kind of budget do you have in mind?

                  1 person found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: First PC Build
                    Alex_Curry Level 1

                    Yes, I just found out about Drobo's speed issue only a few minutes ago upon reading reviews...that's a bummer.


                    My fault about the links, obviously I'm new to these forums and did something wrong! In comparison to the Asus mobo you are running, how does the gigabyte stack up in relation to my needs?


                    I'm looking to spend no more than $4,000 total for everything including dual monitors which I have yet to pick out. A nice midway point between a budget and SuperPC is appropriate here

                    • 7. Re: First PC Build
                      Harm Millaard Level 7



                      Just a rough indication of what you could do, and I have not added it up to see if it really fits within your budget, but I think this comes out nicely:


                      1. Case: Lian Li PC-A77F

                      2. PSU: Corsair or CoolerMaster 1000 W modular

                      3. Memory: 12 GB (6x2GB), many brands to choose from

                      4. Mobo: Gigabyte you linked to

                      5. CPU cooler: Noctua NH-D14 or TRUE with push-pull configuration

                      6. Processor: i7-930

                      7. OS disk: 150/300 G Velociraptor

                      8. Storage: Samsung F3

                      9. Raid controller: Areca ARC-1680iX-12/16 with BBM and 2 GB cache

                      10. Video card: nVidia GTX-470


                      For monitors you could look at the Samsung SyncMaster F2380 (sPVA) that are not as expensive as IPS monitors, but pretty good. The alternative is Dell Ultrasharp.


                      As to the number of F3's, I suggest at least 4, but possibly more.


                      The alternative is the i7-980X and forfeiting the Areca card, but I wonder if that is wise. The price premium does not seem to warrant that investment.

                      • 8. Re: First PC Build
                        Alex_Curry Level 1



                        Thank you so much for the help here! I've done some more research and modified your list a wee bit...i've got some questions about a couple of these products...


                        1. Case: Still leaning towards Antec 1200 - $169.99, it's more than half the price of the Lian Li...I can't justify spending that much on a case!  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129043&cm_re=antec_1200-_-11-129- 043-_-Product

                        2. PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000w - $164.98

                        3. Memory: Found this combo with the GTX 470 - $610.98... or would it be more advisable to go with the 480? Is it worth the extra $150? Future-proofing?


                        4. Mobo: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R - $199.99

                        5. CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - $34.24 (over half the price of the Noctua, and has gotten great reviews on newegg, but can be found elsewhere cheaper) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103065&Tpk=Cooler%20Master%20Hype r%20212%20Plus%20CPU%20Cooler

                        6. Processor: Intel i7 930 - $289.99

                        7. OS Disk: 300gb Velociraptor - $239.99

                        8. Storage: (4) Samsung F3's - $299.96

                        9. Raid controller: Areca ARC-1680iX-12 - $789.99 (what are the advantages of the 16 over the 12?) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816151040&cm_re=areca_arc-1680ix-_-1 6-151-040-_-Product

                        And as for the BBM, can I just run a UPS for the whole computer or do I need a separate one for the controller?

                        10. Monitors: (2) Samsung SyncMaster F2380's - $420

                        11. Blue-ray Burner: Pioneer Black - $199 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827129051


                        Total: $3,419.11


                        Well, now that this took me over three hours to put together...i'm going to take a break from all of this and wait for your feedback. It's good to know I have ~$600 to play with here if this list needs more modification, which I'm sure it does. let me know what you think Harm

                        • 9. Re: First PC Build
                          Harm Millaard Level 7



                          This is a solid list of components. If you have a UPS, there is no need to get the BBM, saves you $ 120. The combo 470 and memory is a nice deal too.


                          This is one of the few times I have no buts...


                          In the future you may want to extend the number of disks.

                          • 10. Re: First PC Build
                            Alex_Curry Level 1

                            Thanks alot Harm, all of your advice has been very helpful! Would you mind answering a few of the questions I had in my previous post regarding the gtx 470/480 and the difference between the 12/16 raid controller? Thanks again



                            • 11. Re: First PC Build
                              PaulieDC Level 2

                              Alex, Harm was a great resource for me as well. I'm quite happy with my rig, and it's quite close to what you are building. My 5D Mark II files are like butter now thanks to the MPE in CS5 (and whatever other things Adobe did under the hood).


                              I had a limited budget due to all of the Canon gear I was collecting, but here's a few thoughts:


                              • I use the Antec 1200. I really like the room inside and I got it for $159 with free shipping from Newegg last year. This year it has gone as low as $119. BUT, a few things to know: one, it weighs slightly less that a '73 Pinto Wagon. I don't move my rig anymore, my wife sold our forklift. Second, every time you want to clean the three screen filters in the front, you have to pull both side covers off and remove 24 thumb screws. That gets old after a while, believe me. But, the thing is built like a tank and the number of fans you get is great, especially that 8" fan on the top. I need paperweights on my desk when I turn that thing on, lol! Oh, I also had to purchase an extension for one of my mobo power cables because the case is so tall (and the PSU sits upside down on the bottom). Because the PSU sits upside down, all of the SATA drives' power connectors are upside down also, so you'll have some serious cable twisting going on. Therefore, work your cable in so they are supple and so they don't stress the flimsy power connectors on the drives when you plug them in. LASTLY: head over to Ace Hardware and buy a couple dozen 6x32 1" philips-head screws to mount your drives in the cages, Antec doesn't give you enough, and their cages require a one-inch screw to reach through the mount to get to the drive. Obviously disregard that last statement if you get the case Harm mentioned!
                              • The Corsair 850w TX PSU is half the price of the 1000w PSU, and the online calcs say I'm using in the 600 range, no problems there. But if budget isn't too tight, give yourself the extra headroom. If it's tight, you can save nearly $100 with the 850.
                              • Subscribe to Techbargains.com RSS feed! I've seen the 300GB Raptor (I use that one for OS & Adobe apps) for $169.99 in the last couple weeks. The price is dropping because the 600GB is coming out or is out. The 300GB is more than enough, I only use about 38GB of mine for Win7 64 bit and CS5 PP Suite and a few plugins. I use a seperate Caviar Black drive for any regular non-video files... that's where all of my My Docs and My Music, blah blah blah reside. You can use the Win7 Libraries to remap your "My" folders to a different drive, VERY handy! (Here's where Harm jumps in and states that we shouldn't have any other junk on our machines ANYWAY, and he's right, that's why I bought a separate drive, lol!)
                              • Although I've been very happy with the EVGA X58 Mobo, it's more expensive than it needs to be, especially since the official RAM limit is 12GB (across 6 slots). The dual eNet ports don't bridge either, so stick with Harm's suggestions for a mobo. I went with all EVGA last year because they were running rebates like crazy, and they are the champ at fast turnaround of rebates, usually 3 weeks. Western Digital was the worst, I waited nearly 5 months for two different rebates. Just FYI. Anyway, the EVGA BIOS and OC ELEET tools are very handy if you plan to OC.
                              • I spent the extra bucks for the Pioneer BDR-205 Blu-Ray burner and it has been an excellent performer. It still sells in the $180 range, but I've yet to have a BR project fail. It burns up to 10X if you can even find media rated at 10X.
                              • The MPE is superb, but it's good that you plan to RAID your asset drive. You'll need speed, especially if you plunk effects onto the TL like Magic Bullet Looks, etc. Right now I'm still doing Poor Man's RAID, using Sata ports 8 & 9 on my MOBO to RAID0 two WD RE3s together. A separate controller is wise, I'm just not there yet. Don't rule out a cheap drive dedicated just for Scratch disks, I use a $45 Caviar Blue 320GB which seems to work quite well (I'm not sure I know enough to state that really!). It's a scratch drive, so it can melt for all I care, lol!
                              • Even though I have 12GB of ram, I set my page file to 8GB for Min and Max (I think that was Harm's recommendation), no sense in chewing up your OS drive's space. You also want to get rid of your Hyberfil.sys file, that puppy eats up unnecessary gigabytes. Don't toy with the System Control Panel, that doesn't always work. Just open a CMD prompt as Admin and type: powercfg -h off, hit ENTER, and that thing will go away.


                              Can you tell I'm bored at work? Yikes, I've been babbling on here! Well, have fun with the build, I enjoyed doing mine, and I'm still adding to it.

                              • 12. Re: First PC Build
                                Alex_Curry Level 1

                                Bonjour from Quebec! Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions Paulie! I particularly liked the comment you made about your wife selling your forklift hehe.


                                Here is my current list of hardware that i added to my cart on Newegg this morning...


                                Processor - Intel i7 930 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115225

                                Case: Coolermaster HAF 932 - decided to go with this over the antec http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119160

                                System Drive: Velociraptor 300gb 10000rpm - do I really even need the 300 or is 150 gb plenty? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136322

                                5 Samsung spinpoint 1tb for raid

                                Raid Controller - Areca ARC-1280ML http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816151037

                                Mobo - Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128423

                                BlurayBurner - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827129051

                                Graphics card and memory combo - http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.462651

                                PS - Coolermaster silentpro 1000w: still have yet to do the online calculater so this one is not set in stone http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171049

                                keyboard: Kind of just chose a cheap one for now since I am spending so much on parts for this computer! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823126012

                                And of course the cooler i mentioned before


                                That's it for now...I am planning on ordering parts in the next couple days so they are ready for me to put together when i get back from canada next week! Any other helpful suggestions are greatly appreciated! This is an "almost" finalized list...modifications may still be made

                                • 13. Re: First PC Build
                                  PaulieDC Level 2

                                  Hi Alex!


                                  I like your excitement over this PC build you're doing, I was like that too, kid in a candy store. To have a PC with this much power is a little too much fun!


                                  Quick answers to your questions:


                                  -The 150GB Raptor is more than enough IF you are dedicating this machine to your editing work (which we would all highly suggest!). Your installation of Windows 7 and the Adobe suite plus some various plugins and a good defragger shouldn't be more than 40GB, and some would even say that's too high. Again, watch TechBargains.com, they have daily feeds with deals. That 150GB Raptor was just on sale at Newegg.com for $109USD with a supplied coupon code. It ended Friday, but no worries, I've seen that thing go on sale every couple weeks for a while now (I'm probably going to repeat what I wrote in my previous post, but it's not in front of me and I have a memory like a leaky faucet, and I have a memory like a leaky faucet...  ;-)


                                  Coolermaster makes great cases, that model you picked is popular, should work great.


                                  Processor & RAID controller look great to me, wish I had 'em!


                                  Mobo: If that's the suggested one by Harm, then go for it. I'm no authority on Mobos. I spent too much... er..  a lot on my EVGA and it works, but I have no idea what it might be missing (other than it doesn't bridge eNet connections for some weird reason, but no showstopper for me)


                                  Pioneer BR Burner: I can't rave enough about mine, same model. It's not the cheapest, but it WORKS. The reviews on the $129 LG model are less than stellar which is why I bought the Pioneer, and I'm 100% happy with it. AND this one was on sale at Newegg for $169 last week. SUBSCRIBE TO TECHBARGAINS.COM! Don't just rely on the Price Alerts at Newegg, they don't trigger when there's a coupon code.


                                  The link you put for the graphics/memory combo doesn't work though...


                                  Also, not sure if I mentioned this already, but the paste that comes with your cooler (whichever one you get) might work fine, might not. For 9 bucks you can guarantee that your thermal paste will work as well as it can if you buy a tube of Arctic 5 Silver paste:


                                  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835100007&cm_re=artic_silver_5-_-35- 100-007-_-Product


                                  Evidently I'm in the majority here, because 4105 people have reviewed this stuff on Newegg and it still has a 5-star rating from 90% of the reviewers. I'm sure the 10% that didn't give it 5 stars are either complaining abouit Newegg's shipping practices or they are clueless about building a PC, lol!


                                  Hey, just FYI, TomsHardware.com is also another good forum to find out info about building a PC. Just keep in mind that the clientele there are mostly gamers, so they're all about stringing 4 video cards together in SLI or Crossfire mode, and water-cooling their rigs and adding 47 neon lights in every corner of the case, yet they still use only one hard drive, lol! But still good info to be found there.


                                  Also, Harm posted an overclocking guide on this forum somewhere, so search his posts for that (Harm, if you actually are so bored that you read my entire post here, can you post your OC guide? Thanks!). He did a good job putting all the facts together in that famous "to-the-point" way of his, as opposed to all the wordy fluff I yak on about endlessly.


                                  Have fun!



                                  • 14. Re: First PC Build
                                    PaulieDC Level 2

                                    Case in point! $30 savings on the case you want at TigerDirect.com, deal posted on TechBargains.com:


                                    TigerDirect.com has the Cooler Master RC-932-KWN3 HAF 932 Black Edition ATX Full Tower with Graphics Card Air Duct for $129.99 Free Shipping after Coupon Code: VSK4519 (Exp 8/9). TODAY ONLY!


                                    Link is here:  http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?Sku=C283-2082&SRCCODE =LINKSHARE&cm_mmc_o=-ddCjC1bELltzywCjC-d2CjCdwwp&AffiliateID=Es5Ekr9eEBk-QFLqh7xGUmWe4kTPj 5wuEA



                                    ALSO, today only, all keyboards at Newegg are 15% off with this code:  EMCYTZT87


                                    Keep your eyes open, the deals are everywhere. If I bought all my components on the same day at posted prices last year, it would have cost me $3600. By waiting for these deals and jumping on them, it cost me $2500 to build it complete.

                                    • 15. Re: First PC Build
                                      PaulieDC Level 2

                                      Another great price:


                                      Newegg Shell Shocker. Newegg has the Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000HLFS 300GB 10000RPM/16MB 3.5" Internal SATA Hard Drive for $139.99 Free Shipping.




                                      http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains- _-NA-_-NA-_-NA&Item=N82E16822136322

                                      • 16. Re: First PC Build
                                        Alex_Curry Level 1

                                        Oh yes, very very excited! Pulled the trigger on the mobo, graphics, memory, monitors, case, cpu, and 5 spinpoints last night. Now I have a few more questions...It seems as though the velociraptors have been quite prone to failure reading the recent reviews on newegg, what's the deal with this? Is there a better option for the 10,000 rpm drive? Also, i signed up to use the power supply calculator Harm mentioned but they still haven't confirmed me so i cannot make use of it...what's my best option for power supply, you said you're setup only uses around 650w or so correct? Would I be safe with an 850 or should i just go for the 1000w so it lasts a long time?

                                        • 17. Re: First PC Build
                                          PaulieDC Level 2

                                          Hey, gettin' closer!


                                          On the PSU, if you have the money, then there's no reason not to get the 1000w version. I built mine as I could afford it over several months, so I squeezed every dollar until it squealed. If $100 isn't going to break you, give yourself the headroom.


                                          I saw those failure reviews too, but I went for it anyway and my 300GB Raptor has been running fine for a year now. I take hard drive failures with a grain of salt, because who knows what the user did with the drive prior to installation... rubbed feet on a carpet maybe, lol?? Also, gamers lug their PCs to LAN parties all the time, and that's a no brainer if the PC is thrown in a car several times a year. I don;t know, call me a rebel, I like my Raptor and I like my iPhone 4 and I have no issues with either one, LOL!


                                          On Windows 7 you can (and should) make a ghost image of your C drive, and that C drive should be static, no user files such as pictures, etc. So once you install everything and get it running, take your drive image with the Backup Control Panel, and if a drive fails you've lost nothing that can't be restored. You lose some time and gain some aggravation, but that's hard drives.In 5 years we'll all be on SSDs once bugs are ironed out and prices get real, then it won't matter! Funny how the Raptors that are seemingly so unreliable are also the Customer Choice favorites on Newegg.


                                          Another option is to get a couple of WD RE3's and RAID them which will give you great speed too but at a higher cost.


                                          Hey, what graphics card did you end up getting?

                                          • 18. Re: First PC Build
                                            Alex_Curry Level 1

                                            Thanks for the advice Paulie...i'll probably end up going with a 1000w power supply, just need to find the right one! It makes sense what you say about gamers lugging their systems around and drives getting battered...i'll probably still end up getting a raptor, especially for 139.99 for a 300gb one! I bought that memory and graphics card combo that i linked to (you couldn't get the link to work for some reason, it worked for me when i tried it again). It's an evga gtx 470...decided to save the $200 on a card that should be supported shortly, instead of the futureproofing  with the 480.

                                            • 19. Re: First PC Build
                                              Alex_Curry Level 1

                                              Hey Harm,


                                              I should have everything I need to start building this tomorrow, still have not purchased the raid controller or system drive though...I decided to go with a six disk RAID3 but before I spend $$$ on an areca, i'd like to make sure I get the one most suitable for me. Will the ARC-1680iX-12 I mentioned above be fine for what I'm doing or is another one more viable? It does not have Windows 7 listed under the system compatibility options...


                                              And one more thing, is a 10,000rpm velociraptor my best choice for system drive? Sounds like 150gb is plenty




                                              • 20. Re: First PC Build
                                                Harm Millaard Level 7



                                                Yes to both questions. The Velociraptor will be fine and 150 GB is more than enough. The 1680iX-12 is your best choice. It will give you future expansion room and has the possibility to increase cache memory up to 4 GB.

                                                • 21. Re: First PC Build
                                                  Alex_Curry Level 1

                                                  Computer has been up and running and works great! I've been away a lot and haven't had time to get the raid array set up...I'm really confused with how to connect this to my computer, is there a tutorial somewhere that I can follow? It looks like i need an internal min SAS 4i to 4x Sata Cable? I could really use some help as I've got no idea what I'm doing here...

                                                  • 22. Re: First PC Build
                                                    Harm Millaard Level 7



                                                    For each multitude of 4 disks you need one forward breakout cable, that has a 8087 connector on one side for the Areca card and breaks out to 4 normal SATA connectors for the disks. So with 6 disks connected you need two of these forward breakout cables. You set up the array as described in the Areca manual.