12 Replies Latest reply on Oct 20, 2010 6:49 AM by Bill Gehrke

    Building a system for the first time

    enjoi525 Level 1

      I recently posted a few weeks back about buying a system from either Dell or HP http://forums.adobe.com/thread/732545?tstart=0.  I quickly learned that those systems were not going to fit my need based on my budget.  So, I decided after researching components that I will build a computer by hand for the first time.  I am still operating on a budget of around $1000, but I'm giving the budget a bit of flexibility so I don't limit my options.  I am a hobbyist who only has experience using Power Director on my laptop, but I had a lot of fun editing for the first time and I want to step up my game.  With the new system, I plan to use adobe premiere cs5 and after effects.  I will capture my video from either an HD Helmet cam or HD flip format is  MPEG-4 AVC/H.264.  So where I need help is selecting the right things to optimize my performance.  The following is a list of items I'm looking with their prices.  Please help me decide what will be right for me.  Open to any combo of suggestions or comments. Thanks!

      Intel i7 930 $200 microcenter
      Intel i7 950 $230 microcenter


      I don't know if I want overclock yet, but it sounds like a good idea.  $30 for the upgrade to the i7 950 seems pretty good. ro do I use the money elsewhere?


      GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R $210



      Seems like a good mobo. Are there any features that this board lacks that I should look for in another board? Also, newegg offers significant deals on "open box" products.  Is this a good way to go?



      I have a few questions for this selection.  I've currently budgeted approximately $250 for ram.  I'm looking at going with 12GB.  I certainly don't have the budget for 24GB, but what about 16GB?

      Do I look for 1333 or 1600?  2GB or 4GB sticks?  Would I be fine if I bought say 2 packs of 6GB ram, both same manufacturer and same type or would I want to buy 1 pack of 12GB?



      Nvidia Geforce gtx 460 1GB $220


      Is it worth it to go to the 470? I know it's a better card but being a budget is really worth the upgrade or can I get away with a 460?

      Any recomendations for a 460 as there are many in the same price range?



      I see these drives priced in the $55 range which would leave at around $220 for the lot of em

      These are the drives I'm looking at as they are highly recommended on this board:

      SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3

      WD Caviar Black


      Right now, I plan to buy 4 drives.  Do I want 4 of the exact same? or say 1 cavier black for os/ programs and 3 samsung f3 for pagefile/scratch/renders?  Can I also get a brief description of what these are too?  Also, could have a 500gb for os/programs and 1tb for the rest or would it be advisable for 1tb for all? or 500gb for all?

      I don't think I can do a raid setup based on my budget, but I saw this as an option on the thread for storage rules is to use the on-board IHCR or Marvell chip.  I don't know really anything about this, but what would the price be to explore this option?


      Cooler Master Storm Scout $90



      I picked this case for a few reasons.  I seem move about every 6 months so the handles on top would be very useful, and it seems to have good cooling.  I know a full size case is recommended, but they seem to be significantly more.



      Noctua NH-U12P SE2 120mm SSO CPU Cooler $75


      Everywhere I look this cooler seems to get great reviews.  I figure it could be a good idea to get a good cooler if I get a mid-tower case.


      The only other option I can think of for case/cooling is to combine the budgeted price for both and look at different options like a full size case with a less quality cooler. Is this a better option



      Looking into an 850 W power supply.  I figure to budget $80 towards as I've seen a few in that range




      so would something like this work?


      Final Thoughts

      So, when you add it all up its about $1350.  First question, how does this look overall?  Nothing I've chosen is obviously overkill, but is there anything I can afford to go cheaper on? or anything I should invest more into?

      Thanks again to everyone for the help.  The resources, info and people on this forum have just been awesome.

        • 1. Re: Building a system for the first time
          John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          MP4 from a Flip will have "similar" requirements to the CS5/AVCHD computer that I built http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0


          Hold of on overclocking until you are comfortable with your new computer

          • 2. Re: Building a system for the first time
            Indio22 Level 1

            Seems like we are planning very similar PCs.  My build is going to be for: amateur video editing including animation mainly with CS5, application design and coding mainly with MS Visual Studio 2008, HTPC (until I build a cheap dedicated unit for the TV), general family computing.  I am new to this stuff, but can at least share some pricing and my decision making process so far.


            Here is what I have selected so far regarding the parts:


            MotherBoard: Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R x58

            Seems like one of the lower cost x58 MBs and has some decent reviews.  Wait for a sale, you should be able to find this for around $180.00.  That is how much I got it for from New Egg (straight up with savings code no rebate), should be arriving on my doorstep tomorrow.  Also, I think Fry's has it now for $170.00 in store, but that includes a $20.00 rebate and tax. 


            PowerSupply: Corsair TX650W

            Some might think this is on the low side.  On the other hand, I have gotten other conflicting advice, stating that many people overestimate their actual power needs.  So who knows.  I have read that a PSU works more efficient when it is matched to the power needs - meaning that a 1000w PSU that is generally seeing 200w usage might not be so efficient.  Anyway, I got the PSU for $50.00 from New Egg (with rebate), and it has a good reputation, so we will see how it goes.


            Graphics Card: GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5

            I was planning on a lower cost card, but then noticed this card for sale over the weekend for $178.00 (with rebate), so I ordered one.  I have read the GTX460 has reasonable power requirements, and can be made to take advantage of CUDA/Mercury with CS5 (although haven't done much research into that).  This particular version based on reviews, seems fairly quite with the twin fans. It's possible I overspent a bit on this card considering my needs, time will tell.


            Here is what I am planning to purchase:


            CPU: i7 930

            I am fortunate to live near a Fry's and MicroCenter ($200.00).  From reading the forum, seems like this is generally the lowest CPU folks go in terms of building an editing machine.  I understand the argument that for only $30.00 more, one can upgrade to the i7 950.  On the other hand, that argument could be made for many of the components, and then before you know it, a little extra here and there, and the budget is shot:)  So I am planning to draw the line at the 930.


            Here are my undecided’s:



            I am up in the air between 6or12gig/module compatibility/cost.  But one thing for you to keep in mind, is the official memory certified for the motherboard you select.  For the Gigabyte motherboard, I missed out on a recent RAM deal, because the RAM was not officially certified for the board.  Some people tell me this is important, while others say "RAM is RAM" and no big deal.  Something to consider.



            Same as you, considering the Samsung Spinpoint F3.  Good prices now at MicroCenter on the 16MB cache models in 500 and 1TB sizes.  I just don't know if larger cache sizes are important or not, since they are also offered in 32MB and higher.


            Anyway, good luck with your build and hope it works well.

            • 3. Re: Building a system for the first time
              Harm Millaard Level 7

              With the budget contraints and your purpose in mind (hobbyist starting to use CS5 and first time builder), I would suggest the following:


              RAM: Get a hex kit of 2 GB sticks for 12 GB from a reputable manufacturer like Corsair, G.Skill, Mushkin or OCZ. DDR3-1333 seems enough and is a lot more affordable than DDR3-1600. But do look for low CAS numbers in the specs. The lower  the better. An example is OCZ Platinum XTC Low-Voltage OCZ3P1333LV12GS.


              CPU Cooler: You may save a bit by looking at Scythe Mugen 2 or Prolimatech Megahalem. The Noctua is very good, but also expensive. And since overclocking is not your first priority, you can save some bucks here.


              DRIVES: I would keep it simple and affordable, just get 4 x 1 TB F3's. For OS it is very large, but the price difference with a smaller one is negligent, but you have the drawback of a smaller cache on smaller disks and a higher fill rate.


              Have a look here: Adobe Forums: Generic Guideline for Disk Setup


              In this case you are talking about a 4 disk setup. The pagefile is Windows method of using 'virtual memory' when the installed actual memory is too small for the current tasks. Best use a static pagefile (minimum size = maximum size) of around 12 GB. The media are your original video clips, that you imported or captured. The media cache contains the indexed, conformed and peak files that are required to edit in a non-destructive way and can be regenerated if need be. In addition there is the media cache database, that contains pointers and links to the media cache files. Preview files are the files that are created for fluid playback of the timeline when it is rendered.


              For the rest you have managed an affordable but well chosen system.

              • 4. Re: Building a system for the first time
                Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I have the $30 Coolermaster Hyper 212+ with the optional second fan and am delighted with its performance and I am overclocking immensely  I perfer it to some of those other boat-anchors.  If you are not overclocking at this point in time you do not need the second fan

                • 5. Re: Building a system for the first time
                  enjoi525 Level 1

                  Thanks for the great replies.  Any thoughts on doing the "open box" policy at newegg to get a good discount or would you just not risk it?

                  • 6. Re: Building a system for the first time
                    John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    My personal preference is that I only buy new, sealed computer components


                    But, as I said, that is personal preference

                    • 7. Re: Building a system for the first time
                      enjoi525 Level 1

                      So, I've looked into ram a little.  There aren't too many options of 12GB hexkits at 1333. Most seem to be 1600. Would it be better to get two 6gb kits 1333 with a latency of 7 or would it be better to get one 12gb kit at 1600 with a latency of 8 and costs $20 more?


                      Edit: I also can do three 4gb kits and save another $50


                      Also, I found a deal on a 750W psu.  Can I get away with that wattage?

                      • 8. Re: Building a system for the first time
                        Harm Millaard Level 7

                        I prefer a hex kit over a couple of tri or dual kits, because then you know that the sticks are all from the same production batch, which lessens the chance of different timings or anomalies. The practical difference between DDR3-1333 with CL 7 and DDR3-1600 with CL8 is negligent. The 1600 gives you more headroom for overclocking the memory, even if you don't overclock the CPU.


                        For the PSU, look here: eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Pro v2.5


                        Get the Pro version, enter all components you have or plan to have, set CPU load to 100%, capacitor aging to 30% and add 10 - 15% for safety to the calculated wattage.

                        • 9. Re: Building a system for the first time
                          enjoi525 Level 1

                          Thanks to all who gave input.  This is what I have decided on.  I'm pretty excited to do my first build.

                          Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz

                          GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R

                          OCZ Gold 12GB (6 x 2GB) DDR3 1600

                          MSI N460GTX Hawk GeForce GTX 460

                          4x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3

                          COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus

                          COOLER MASTER HAF 922


                          Power Supply TBD when I insert all this into the calculator later today.


                          • 10. Re: Building a system for the first time
                            enjoi525 Level 1

                            I didn't want to start a new topic to have a simple question answered.

                            So, I installed the cpu cooler that came with processor.  I forgot I had to install the one I bought.  Do I have to remove the thermal compound on the chip that rubbed off of the stock cooler even though I never turned the computer on?  Also I plan to use a thermal grease on the new cooler thats not what came with the processor

                            • 11. Re: Building a system for the first time

                              It depends on the type of grease and the type of heat-transfer surface on the cooler that it's used on; however, most thermal greases are generally compatible with the "range of heat-transfer surfaces" that they will be potentially used on.  You might look at the destructions for the cooler you are planning on installing and see if there are any notes about using ONLY the supplied grease that came with that cooler.  Lacking any explicit warnings otherwise, you are probably OK using the grease that you previously used.


                              You could also call a local computer shop and talk to them about your concerns too ....

                              • 12. Re: Building a system for the first time
                                Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                I would suggest that you wipe it off becuase you do not want too much thermal compound as that will not allow you to obtain the maximum heat sink effectiveness.