Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

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phaser
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Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by phaser » Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:19 pm

Hello,

My old trusty computer is finally running out of steam. I just bought a new toy, a video recorder that records with H.264 format, and my system can barely play back the files. So I'm using this as an excuse to finally upgrade.

It's been many years since I last built a PC, which was done with help from this site. I haven't kept up with tech stuff at all so I find myself thrust into a wilderness of 'cores' and wild new multi-terabyte drives (I was impressed with my 80 gig drive back then...). I would appreciate some suggestions for a new system, at least to help me get my bearings without having to spend too many hours re-tuning my brain to the current state of the computer world.

Here's some parameters:

Cheap as possible, excluding mouse, keyboard and monitor. Hoping for something $500-$800 but I'll say $1k as absolute upper limit.

Geared for audio/video recording and editing. Doesn't have to be on the cutting edge of performance, but be usable for running a DAW and doing basic video stuff in Vegas, let's say. My current system's failure on the video front is my whole reason for upgrading.

Quiet, as I will be doing audio recording in the same room. However, I don't need silence or near-silence, just... quiet. Basically, I would like my noise-floor to be the street noise I can't eliminate (I live in a city apartment), not my computer in the room.

I GREATLY appreciate any help you guys can offer!

Thanks very much.

Fire-Flare
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Re: Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by Fire-Flare » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:33 am

AMD Quad core CPU = $100

Cheap AM3 motherboard ~$50

Fanless ATI 5670 or 5750 = $100-170 (some are designed to draw all their power from the motherboard rather than the PSU to reduce wattage draw)

Scythe Mugen 2 Revision B =$40 (Add a second fan for more lower noise)

Minimum of 400 watt PSU Maybe $50 to $100 depending on brand. (my Nexus 'Value 430' was an spectacular performer, Seasonic makes near-silent ones as well)

Western Digital AV series drive(s) (designed for media machines, feature extra memory buffers and intelligent head movement, suspend the laptop versions for extra silence) Start at $50 for a 160GB drive.


Those are the essentials I use in my silent gaming system. Total is $400 so far, case, memory, and an operating system should be all you need from there.
My build: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=69018

Swiftech MCP35X review: viewtopic.php?f=27&t=65287

Big Pimp Daddy
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Re: Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by Big Pimp Daddy » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:22 am

I would generally agree with Fire-Flare, except for a few points;

As you don't say anything about using the computer for gaming, I would recommend forgoing the graphics card and getting a motherboard with integrated graphics such as one with an 880 chipset. This will save a large chunk of change as well as some power and noise.

Ignore the 400W PSU guideline, your system will never come close to that. Get any PSU from the recommended list that suits your budget.

With a low power draw like this you can get away with any case with a 120mm exhaust. Just get a cheapo one and swap the crappy included fan for a Nexus/Noctua/Scythe.

4 gig of RAM is the bang-for-buck sweet spot.

If you aren't relegating your old computer to other duties then you can reuse the case, CD/DVD drive and PSU assuming none of them are fatally flawed.

However you decide to do it, you should be well under your $800 budget.
[size=75][b]Main:[/b] E8400, TR IFX14, GA-P35-DS3R, 4Gb OCZ, Radeon 5850 + Accelero S1 + VRM R4, 60Gb OCZ Agility, 250Gb WD Blue, Nexus 120mm PWM, Jeantech Phong, Antec Neo HE 430W.
[b]Server:[/b] Sempron 140, ASRock A780GM-LE, 2Gb Kingston, 6TB of Assorted hard drives, 3x 120mm Fans.
[b]HTPC:[/b] Epia MII 10000, Zalman NB47J, 512Mb Kingston, Toshiba 40Gb 2.5", Morex Cubid 3688, No Fans.[/size]

victorhortalives
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Re: Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by victorhortalives » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:47 am

Have a look at this : viewtopic.php?f=23&t=61094&p=529749#p529749

The op wanted a quiet PC for < $ 1000 to do Audio editing.

MikeC
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Re: Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by MikeC » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:08 am

victorhortalives wrote:Have a look at this : viewtopic.php?f=23&t=61094&p=529749#p529749

The op wanted a quiet PC for < $ 1000 to do Audio editing.
Yeah, but that build is $1000 w/o software; phaser specified $500-$800.

I'd recommend the cheapest Sandy Bridge CPU w/ H67 board. Right now, this is the best integrated non-3D video. The SB chip simply has more processing power per core than anything else around, and the mobos for them have the very latest features, the Asus has EFI BIOS (very nice), USB3, nicely overclockable, etc

i3-2100 (65W TDP), probably $130 ($117 in 1000 lots to dealers)
ASUS P8H67-M -- $105
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus CPU cooler -$30
4GB ram -- $60
SeaSonic S12II 430B (or similar) -- $60
Western Digital Green AV HDD 1TB -- $60?
Any cheap steel mATX tower case w/120mm fan & open enough front vent -- $40
DVD writer (if needed) -- $20

Subtotal is ~$500. Add your choice of audio card if necessary, software, etc. I doubt you will top $700.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

victorhortalives
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Re: Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by victorhortalives » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:52 am

Note the OP quote " but I'll say $1k as absolute upper limit."

As he is out of touch, a good place to start is a complete package, then he can take bits off and/or substitute.

phaser
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Re: Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by phaser » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:21 pm

Thanks for the help everyone.

It looks like I'm going to be able to get away with this for under $700, which is what I was hoping.

One thing I forgot to mention is that I'm currently using two PCI sound cards for my recording and playback duties. I had planned to swap these over to the new system to avoid spending money on this front, which is an area I wouldn't want to skimp on...

Looking over the motherboard suggestions I'm seeing a new format, PCI Express. Yes, I've managed to stay so far out of the loop that I haven't heard of this before now. Will older PCI cards still work in these slots? I notice a lot of mobos don't have old PCI slots anymore. This might limit my choices, though I'm hoping not.

In any situation at least I have something to work off of now, so thanks again for the suggestions!

MikeC
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Re: Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by MikeC » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:42 pm

http://www.directron.com/expressguide.html

PCI is indeed being phased out; some of the new 1155 boards are the first to have all PCIe-only slots. So look carefully at the new H67 boards. The ASUS P8H67-M I m,entioned earlier has 2 PCI slots; Asus has the best BIOS of P/H67 boards we've looked at so far -- fully implemented EFI BIOS.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

ist.martin
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Re: Help with ideas for new, cheap, audio/video PC

Post by ist.martin » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:54 pm

MikeC wrote:
victorhortalives wrote:Have a look at this : viewtopic.php?f=23&t=61094&p=529749#p529749

The op wanted a quiet PC for < $ 1000 to do Audio editing.
Yeah, but that build is $1000 w/o software; phaser specified $500-$800.

I'd recommend the cheapest Sandy Bridge CPU w/ H67 board. Right now, this is the best integrated non-3D video. The SB chip simply has more processing power per core than anything else around, and the mobos for them have the very latest features, the Asus has EFI BIOS (very nice), USB3, nicely overclockable, etc

i3-2100 (65W TDP), probably $130 ($117 in 1000 lots to dealers)
ASUS P8H67-M -- $105
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Plus CPU cooler -$30
4GB ram -- $60
SeaSonic S12II 430B (or similar) -- $60
Western Digital Green AV HDD 1TB -- $60?
Any cheap steel mATX tower case w/120mm fan & open enough front vent -- $40
DVD writer (if needed) -- $20

Subtotal is ~$500. Add your choice of audio card if necessary, software, etc. I doubt you will top $700.

Mike:

Any idea when NCIX is going to have the i3-2100's available? If I go with an i3-2100 + Asus P8H67-M as described above, add 1 SSD, 1 3.5" HDD and 1 optical drive, which tower(ish) case and PS would you recommend from NCIX to keep the price down? I am looking for an 'inaudible with the system under my desk' noise level. Any chance of getting that with a case + PS in the $130 range from NCIX here in Vancouver?

Thanks a lot,

Ian

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