I haven't purchased a pre-built machine for about 10 years; I've always found it more enjoyable to pick-and-choose parts for the machines I spend 8+ hours of my day on.
However, the last two machines have caused me some grief. First machine, a dual cpu xeon p4, had it's quite expensive quadro graphics card fan die, subsequently killing the card and the mobo.
The replacement core 2 duo system has been reliable, but sounds like a jetplane idling on the tarmac, and not as fast as I would like.
I'd really like to build my own again, but could use some help from everyone on the case, ps, cpu cooler, and misc in order to get as quiet a possible system, while still achieving good performance.
Computer uses will be:
- Dual booting winxp(64) and ubuntu linux
- running Adobe cs3 suite
- running Visual Studio 2008
- running concurrent virtual machines for software testing
I dont want to spend an arm and a leg (I'm still paying off my cs3 suite, haha), but I want something beefy enough to handle me running Photoshop, Visual Studio, and a VM without crawling to a halt.
My rough specs thus far for the next build are:
- core i7 (920)
- 12gb ram
- 2x150gb 10k SATAII's in RAID 0 (main drive)
- 2x500gb 10k SATAII's in RAID 1 (my everything else drive)
- Motherboard -- 4-6 SATA Ports, room for expansion, on-board RAID support.
I'll be honest - it's been way too long since I've researched components and I'm sort of overwhelmed with all the choices out there. I don't don't do a ton of graphic work, but I do have 2 24" monitors. something that can push those would be good (screen space is god for me). I don't play very many games, although I do power up the original Doom from time to time :)
I have no clue about power supplies and the modular/non-modular, and there's too many motherboards for me to pick from.
Can anyone help guide me in the right direction? My budget is approx $1,500-$2,000, obviously the lower the better :)
Regarding cooling: I'm not against liquid cooling, as long as it doesnt jack my price up too much. My end game is simply a fast, semi-quiet system I dont have to wear earplugs (literally!) in order to drown out the noise.