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post #31 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD_May View Post
K keep this thread alive because I want to build a PC very soon (ie as soon as I get my starting bonus for the new office). What I want to do is grab a 46" HDTV and hook up the desktop sort of as a media PC, but also, if need be, a gaming PC. I probably won't play many games on it but it would be nice to have the option. I'll mostly use it for watching downloaded TV shows / movies, hockey games through nhl.com. Also for browsing teh interwebz when I'm not using my laptop. I haven't really kept up to speed since I haven't built a desktop since... like 5+ years ago. So I'm not sure what I'll need processor-wise. I'm thinking I'll want 6-8 gigs of decent memory, a good but not top of the line video card (~$150-200), a blu-ray player, and... what? HD space is probably not an issue since if I max out I can always just add a 1TB external. So my questions are, I guess, 1. Does this idea even really make sense? 2. What processor should I be looking at, and what speed? 3. What do I need to know to pick the right memory setup? 4. What are good video cards for my purposes? 5. Somewhat unrelated, but anything anybody can tell me to help me pick a TV would be appreciated since I know relatively little about that, I'm trying to find a 42-46" HDTV that'll be good for ~4-5 years, but have little grasp of terms like "contrast ratio". 6. Anything else I should know? If there's a substantial benefit to stepping up a bit in price I'm okay with that but I really am looking for something that's good value and will do the job, not something that'll develop sentient thought or support a national intelligence agency. If anyone can help me out with this stuff I'd appreciate it, feel like the guy wandering into SW&D asking others to dress him, but salespeople just want you to buy shit and that'd be the other major source of info I have.
1. Yes, the idea makes sense, people do it all the time 2. Processor-wise, there are a lot of different routes you can go. First you need to decide if you want to do AMD or Intel, and then what motherboard you want to use. I'd probably go on ahead with AMD, cause Intel chips are pretty expensive for what you get. The only reason to go Intel IMO is if you need the top top level of performance that only the highest end i7 or Xeon chips can offer. The 965 Black Edition that the OP mentioned is a blazing fast processor that can be found really cheap, so I'm tempted just to recommend that right away. 3. Picking the right memory is easy, just go for the fastest memory speeds that your system board supports. It had ought to be some nice DDR3 memory, but check the specs on your motherboard. I reccomend at least 6 GB out of the box. I work at Best Buy, and only our very cheapest computers come with anything less then that. 4. Someone earlier in the thread mentioned the Radeon 5770 chip, which is an awesome chip for that price range. As I said above, anything 57xx should be a nice chip. All of them will support DirectX11, so you'll be well futureproofed. If you go with an AMD processor, stick with a Radeon chip, unless you HAVE to run Linux for some crazy reason. Even if you go with Intel, I'd probably go with a Radeon chip. nVidia chips just don't tend to play as nice, and can cost a bit more for what you get. 5. Depending on what you are looking to spend, the new lineup of Samsung LED TV's are quite nice. I have one of last years models and I love it. Very energy efficient, with awesome color and a nice sleek design. But they are pricey. A standard 120 Hz LCD should do just fine for about anyone, and they can be picked up at bargain prices if you watch the ads and internet. The Hz I referred to above is the refresh rate on the TV. 120 Hz says the screen will refresh 120 times per second. 60 Hz would be 60 times per second. If you are looking to play Blu-ray movies, make sure you get at least 120 Hz, which is the standard today. The benefits offered by 240 Hz are marginal, but if the upgrade is cheap, go for it so you are prepared for the future. Contrast ratio refers to the difference between the deepest blacks and the brightest brights. The higher the contrast ratio, the more the colors will pop, and the deeper your black levels will be. Better black levels are awesome if you're watching blu-ray movies. So go for a higher contrast ratio if possible. And make sure the TV is 1080p 6. Make sure whatever graphics card you use has an HDMI output to hook up to your TV. Get a blu-ray player, either as a standalone or built into your computer. Keep in mind that graphics are important to keep decent refresh rates on a massive 46 inch TV. I have seen good machines get crippled by outputting to massive screens.
post #32 of 91
^Thanks man. What should I be looking for as stats for ram? Like DDR3 is a good thing to know, but I have this vague idea that there is another standard attached to ram relating to quality vs cheap stuff. Check, radeon 5770 noted. Anything else I should consider besides ATI cards or have they and Nvidia pretty much cornered the market at this point? I am looking to spend hopefully less than 1k on the TV portion of this little venture. I'm not completely averse to breaking that if I think the value for the extra money is there. If I could do it for $800 + the desktop I'd be pretty satisfied. K, so 120hz minimum, maybe 240hz (though I'm betting that right there will cost me ~200 bucks). What is a "good" contrast ratio? Because some of these things go up to 4 million : 1 and some are in the several-hundred-thousand to one range. Definitely need HDMI out, and probably need to make sure whatever TV I get has more than one HDMI port because I might want to hook up a couple of things. What do you mean by graphics are important to keep up the refresh rate? A good graphics card is necessary for that, you mean? It sounds like I might want to go plasma from what I'm reading, to get a better contrast ratio and pay somewhat less for the same size screen. Any good reason to avoid it? Seems like the downside is lifespan but if I have to upgrade in a few years, I might want to do that anyway if 3d technology has come along by then.
post #33 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD_May View Post
^Thanks man. What should I be looking for as stats for ram? Like DDR3 is a good thing to know, but I have this vague idea that there is another standard attached to ram relating to quality vs cheap stuff.

Check, radeon 5770 noted. Anything else I should consider besides ATI cards or have they and Nvidia pretty much cornered the market at this point?

I am looking to spend hopefully less than 1k on the TV portion of this little venture. I'm not completely averse to breaking that if I think the value for the extra money is there. If I could do it for $800 + the desktop I'd be pretty satisfied. K, so 120hz minimum, maybe 240hz (though I'm betting that right there will cost me ~200 bucks). What is a "good" contrast ratio? Because some of these things go up to 4 million : 1 and some are in the several-hundred-thousand to one range.

Definitely need HDMI out, and probably need to make sure whatever TV I get has more than one HDMI port because I might want to hook up a couple of things. What do you mean by graphics are important to keep up the refresh rate? A good graphics card is necessary for that, you mean?

It sounds like I might want to go plasma from what I'm reading, to get a better contrast ratio and pay somewhat less for the same size screen. Any good reason to avoid it? Seems like the downside is lifespan but if I have to upgrade in a few years, I might want to do that anyway if 3d technology has come along by then.
If you're looking at a TV for less then 1k, it is going to be an 120 hz TV. There is nothing wrong with plasma, I just have never been a big fan of it. Seems too fussy to me. In my opinion, the only reason to buy plasma is at the top top end (see Pioneer Elite) where an LCD just can't match. Again, that's my opinion, there are plenty of people that swear by plasma too. It is impossible to define a "good" contrast ratio due to the fact that most of these companies make it up. My LED TV is stated to have an 8 million:1 contrast ratio, but yet the LCD in my basement is a 1000:1 contrast ratio. The LED is better... but 8000 times better? I don't think so. Samsung is the biggest infringer on this bullshit contrast ratio stuff, but yet their TVs do have high contrast ratios. It is all very convoluted... so there is really not good answer on that one. By the way, look to get a Samsung or Sony TV, in my experience they are simply at a higher level then most of the other brands. Sharp is nice too, at a bit lower pricepoint. If you do go Plasma, Panasonic makes a very nice TV as well.

I don't even know if anyone makes graphics chipsets other then ATi and nVidia. But keep in mind that in most cases they won't be the ones manufacturing the cards. They simply make the chipsets, and other companies manufacture them. PNY, and BFX are good graphics chip manufacturers that I have used before. Diamond makes some nice chips as well. I had bad luck with Galaxy before, but I do know people that swear by them so who knows. My knowledge of chip makers is slightly limited, someone else might know more.

What I mean by the refresh rate part is just that you shouldn't expect amazing gaming performance on a screen that big. It will be playable, but if you are looking for massive framerates, you probably need a PC monitor. I think it will be fine for more casual gaming though, as long as you get a good enough graphics card (5770 would be considered "good enough"). Oh and while I'm at it, don't get ripped off when you buy HDMI cables. Monster cables can run $100 to $140, don't let yourself do that. Monoprice cables are dirt cheap online (like $5), and if you have a fry's electronics near you, you can easily pick up some cheap cables there. Don't walk into a best buy and get a cable, you will be mercilessly ripped off. And don't buy into any crap that some cables are better then others, they aren't. Digital signal doesn't have quality. It is either all on or all off.

I don't know a ton about the differences in RAM quality. I usually just stick with reputable brands like Kingston and PNY, and that has always been fine for me
post #34 of 91
Yeah brand-wise I'm just wondering if I should be looking at brands I haven't heard of as being cheap crap or just that being a product of me not really knowing what I'm talking about.
post #35 of 91
Thread Starter 
What about this guy?

Quote:
Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black 7200rpm SATA III w/ 64MB Cache
Asus DRW-24B1ST 24x DVD-RW Drive, SATA, Black, OEM
Asus PCE-N13 Wireless N PCI-E Adapter
Antec Sonata III Quiet Mid Tower w/ EarthWatts 500W, eSATA
Scythe S-FLEXâ„¢ S-FDB 120mm Quiet Fan, High Flow
AMD Phenomâ„¢ II X4 945 3.0GHz w/ 8MB Cache (Retail Box, Socket AM3)
Asus M4A88TD-M w/ Radeon HD 4250, DualDDR3 1333, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, Hybrid CrossFireX, HDMI
Patriot Extreme Performance Viper II Series DDR3 4GB (2 x 2GB) PC3-12800 Low Latency Dual

I am leaving out the graphics card since I don't think I need to play anything new, really.
post #36 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by bearsfan172 View Post
Keep in mind that graphics are important to keep decent refresh rates on a massive 46 inch TV. I have seen good machines get crippled by outputting to massive screens.



And 1600x1200 wasn't uncommon in the late 1990s. Somehow those video cards kept up. Or are you suggesting bigger pixels put more stress on the graphics card?
post #37 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by unjung View Post
What about this guy? I am leaving out the graphics card since I don't think I need to play anything new, really.
Where are you finding these systems? I'm looking on the website under computer systems and not seeing them. Wondering if I'm in the wrong category, or what.
post #38 of 91
JD, please post a follow up once you build your HTPC. I'm looking to do that in the not so distant future, perhaps.

Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz would be good for a HTPC, but if you are looking to game too, I'd just go ahead and get a dual core.
post #39 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by unjung View Post
What about this guy?



I am leaving out the graphics card since I don't think I need to play anything new, really.
I think it sounds better then the first system; but I'm a little behind on my pc components knowledge.

Check out www.tomshardware.com .. they do monthly or quarterly CPU reviews and rank them into price groups. Some of their stuff can be a bit off for the hardcore PC enthusiast, but it's usually a good starting point. They might point you towards a better CPU for the same price as the one your looking at.
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by imschatz View Post
I think it sounds better then the first system; but I'm a little behind on my pc components knowledge.

Check out www.tomshardware.com .. they do monthly or quarterly CPU reviews and rank them into price groups. Some of their stuff can be a bit off for the hardcore PC enthusiast, but it's usually a good starting point. They might point you towards a better CPU for the same price as the one your looking at.

Not sure what CPU that would be. AMD has pretty much cornered the market for the sub $200 price/performance processors for the last 2 years. $ for $ you cannot beat an AMD Phenom II X4, especially considering the OC headroom you get with them.

The system unjung posted is perfectly fine for what he wants to do. Photo, sound and video editing, watching movies, browsing the web, and the occasional light gaming. Just because retail manufacturers are shoving 6gb + ram into their systems doesn't mean it's necessary. Again, I work my computer fairly hard at times and rarely ever get within 20% of my 4gb total. However if you're doing some serious Photoshop or editing work, then it may be something to consider. I just do some picture touch up, cropping, and light editing on the occasion in addition to my gaming.

Still not sure why unjung insists on using a micro-ATX motherboard when he's using an ATX case. Make use of the extra room! You never know when you want to add a TV tuner card or get a large dual slot video card. Better to future proof and it's not like it's an extra charge to get the larger ATX mobo.

I heartily endorse modular power supplies. I hate the ones that come bundled in a case already. They're often pure crap and die out within a year. Also the modular ones allow you to only use a few leads and keeps the case clutter free, allowing for better airflow. Get a decent case and a separate PSU. The OCZ modXstream is a great option that often can be combo bundled with a DVD Burner like javyn purchased (you're welcome )

In addition to the case fan, I suggest getting an aftermarket CPU cooler such as this. It will keep your CPU cooler, exhaust the air toward the back of the case (there should be a fan back there) therefore keeping the case temps lower, and be quieter than the stock fan at the same time.

Also, newegg.ca has lower prices... in general.
post #41 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD_May View Post
What I want to do is grab a 46" HDTV and hook up the desktop sort of as a media PC, but also, if need be, a gaming PC.

You may want to go for a smaller LCD PC monitor.

First, your typical viewing distance for PCs is two or three feet. With a huge 46" screen you are likely to experience the feeling of being in the front seat of a huge movie theater. Bigger is not always better in that instance. However, if your viewing distance is significantly longer then a big screen might work.

Second, as others have pointed out you can get higher resolution than 1920 x 1080 on a smaller PC monitor screen. My LCD monitor can display 2048 x 1152 -- and the screen size is only 27". Quality 30" LCD monitors can go even higher.

Third, if you are using satellite or cable to watch TV then you don't need the expense of a built-in TV tuner. LCD TVs will come with tuners; monitors will not. However, if you are watching over the air broadcasts then obviously the LCD TV is a better option.

HDMI is not an issue with LCD monitors. So long as your PC's video equipment is HDCP compliant, you can watch copy-protected material through the DVI connection. I don't use the HDMI connection on my PC because my PC (blu-ray player, video card and monitor) all are HDCP compliant through the DVI connection.

Hope this helps!
post #42 of 91
Quote:
Still not sure why unjung insists on using a micro-ATX motherboard when he's using an ATX case. Make use of the extra room! You never know when you want to add a TV tuner card or get a large dual slot video card. Better to future proof and it's not like it's an extra charge to get the larger ATX mobo.
Yeah, especially when a comparable Gigabyte ATX doesn't cost any more than what he chose. I can't think of any reason at all to use a mATX mobo in a mid tower. Sure it'll mount in there, but it will probably take effort, and you're limiting yourself right off the bat anyway.
post #43 of 91
Quote:
AMD Phenom™ II X4 945 3.0GHz w/ 8MB Cache (Retail Box, Socket AM3)
Asus M4A88TD-M w/ Radeon HD 4250, DualDDR3 1333, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, Hybrid CrossFireX, HDMI
Patriot Extreme Performance Viper II Series DDR3 4GB (2 x 2GB) PC3-12800 Low Latency Dual

I may have out of date information, but it was my understanding that only the Intel Core i7 x58 CPUs were capable of utilizing triple channel memory?

Further, even if the above setup was able to use triple-channel memory, wouldn't one need three sticks of RAM (instead of two)?

Have to do some more research on this ....
post #44 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace Rimmer View Post
I may have out of date information, but it was my understanding that only the Intel Core i7 x58 CPUs were capable of utilizing triple channel memory?

Further, even if the above setup was able to use triple-channel memory, wouldn't one need three sticks of RAM (instead of two)?

Have to do some more research on this ....

True, the intel chips can utilize triple channel, hence the surge of 3x2gb sticks being sold and used in systems.

However AMD still only uses Dual Channel, which is what the OP is looking at. They're working on a triple for their next generation of chips.
post #45 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteslashasian View Post
Not sure what CPU that would be. AMD has pretty much cornered the market for the sub $200 price/performance processors for the last 2 years. $ for $ you cannot beat an AMD Phenom II X4, especially considering the OC headroom you get with them.

Agree, AMD has the sub-$200 marked nailed down. However, it will be interesting to see how things work out in the coming months.

Maximum PC magazine reports that Intel will lower the price of the Intel Core i7 950 to $284 in the next few months, which basically renders the Core i7 920 and 930 obsolete. If stores like MicroCenter discount the Core i7 950 to $199.99 (as they did with both the 920 and 930), then PC builders will have serious options if they decide to buy at the upper end of the $200 CPU spectrum.

The huge caveat in the above is the cost of the mobo and chipset. Intel x58 chipset mobos are not cheap. I think I paid $250 for my Asus x58 mobo in October 2009. Then you have to shell out for three sticks of triple-channel memory, which is also more expensive than dual-channel (I paid $130 for six gigs of Patriot Viper DDR3/1600).

In short, the coming months will be very interesting as Intel cuts pricing to compete with AMD. It's good for the consumer.
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