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Windows 7: Considering a new office desktop - build or buy?

16 Jul 2012   #1

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit SP1
 
 
Considering a new office desktop - build or buy?

Hi all;

I'd like to build an office desktop with the following features:

• 2 dual head video cards (to support up to 4 monitors)
• 8 gb memory
• 256gb SSD
• At least 2 USB 3.0 ports

The processor and other features don't need to be special - these are the main features I need.

It's hard to find a desktop that includes an SSD as the primary drive. I don't want or need a larger platter HD, but I don't have the tech skills to replace it with an SSD by myself. I think I can add the 2 dual head video cards though, so long as I can find a motherboard to support them.

Based on the above, should I start with a stock system and pay someone to modify it, or is it better to just have a local shop put something together for me?

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2012   #2

Desk1 8 Pro / Desk2 7 Home Prem / Laptop 8.1 Pro all 64bit
 
 

Hiyya Kemf - depends on your building skills I never built one before this machine and look just a bit of researching goes a long way. Truly it isn't hard and building yourself you get to pick the gear. Have a Google on building your own there is stacks out there. I actually got Scott Muellers DVD and book on building - it is really simple to follow. Try Youtube for that matter it will give you some idea of what you are up for.

Then have a go at picking out the case, CPU. PSU, mobo etc and post it in here there are plenty of members who have been building for years to guide you.

But beware it is addictive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home premium 64bit SP1
 
 

I say if your willing to learn the steps and are patient enough to be able to build one and take the precautions to not damage your parts by being careful.Then yeah building one would be the best option because you know what is going in your case and choose all the parts and can pick quality parts that will most likely last you longer then the parts in a pre-built since they are of higher quality and usually pre-builts will take short cuts and put parts like say fans or power supply that might wear out sooner then if you picked them out and got ones of quality.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Jul 2012   #4

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kemf View Post

Based on the above, should I start with a stock system and pay someone to modify it, or is it better to just have a local shop put something together for me?

Thanks
If you aren't confident enough with your skills, I'd hand pick parts and take it to a store to build it for you.

(You could by the parts from the store, but a lot of will charge you an arm and a leg for the parts. Labor can range from $50-$100. If they want to charge more - take your business else where. )

If you start with a stock system, you can always re-use the HDD when you swap it with a SSD.


And you don't actually need 2 dual head cars to run 4 monitors.

If you purchase/base your build around a Sandy or Ivy bridge system - you can use the iGPU (integrated GPU on the CPU) to run one montior. Then you can buy an inexpensive AMD video card to run 3 monitors off the one card.


The vast majority of Sandy bridge and all of the Ivy bridge motherboards contain at least two USB 3.0 hubs. For your simple needs - there are a lot of choices.


Basically you'd be after a Sandy Bridge/Ivy bridge i3/i5 CPU, and something like an AMD 6770.


We can help pick out cheap quality parts that will do the job and you can find a local store to assemble if for you. It would be cheaper in the long run.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2012   #5

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit SP1
 
 

Thanks! I've never seen a video card that can run 3 monitors; can you show me which one you're referring to?

Many years ago I read that prebuilt systems have LESS issues than custom built ones due to compatibility testing from the manufacturer--is there truth to this?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2012   #6

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Do you have a price range to work with?
The big mistakes people do.
Poor or middle range power supply.
To small of case which makes it hard to work with.
Getting parts for today when you are building for tomorrow.
Not doing enough research to match your dollars/needs/desires and parts combination for the future with this computer.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The first thing I do when selecting parts is choosing the case and the power supply.
For me that is easy even if I don't know what else I'm going to get.
The power supply will be by a few selected quality proven manufactures.
It will be a overkill. More than I will possibly need now but will give me a little grow room. It will be modular.
The case will be a large mid size or a full size with cable management. With the ability of removing the cpu cooler in chassie. Quality fans with good options to add fans. My last build (My System Specs) took me 10's and 10's of hours of research.
Because it is for your workplace I'm speculating that reliability is a major concern.
I would suggest sticking with Intel CPU and a Intel board. The Intel site can help you their. I'm also speculating that no overclocking will be done. A motherboard and ram that overclocks well might not be a good selection. I'm no video car guru but I'm thinking 4 monitors 2 video cards will be needed. If your not gaming at work the wipe bass overclock gaming video cards will also not be a good choice unless that is the only option to use 4 monitors.
Did you notice I haven't given you brand names, prices, websites. That is where your research comes in. I did a lot of copy/paste/print so I could study the information while drinking my coffee and compare on my last build.
Example: I have more power supply than I need today but who knows about tomorrow. Every thing in a computer that does anything starts with a good power supply.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2012   #7

Desk1 8 Pro / Desk2 7 Home Prem / Laptop 8.1 Pro all 64bit
 
 

I agree with Layback Bear as I said earlier mate researching is everything and taking advice over what you pick cos when I built my current machine I picked an i5 2500 instead of the K model and an H67 board as opposed to the P67 for simply price and "not going to need anything better" reasoning - against what most were telling me and have regretted it ever since.

My next is going to be a full tower and the whole bells and whistles even if I never have to use the extra specs. Anyway that is what I am going to do with that one but at the same time I shall still post in here for advice.

Just as an exercise - it won't cost you a cent pick out the gear you think is what you'll need and like to have and post it There are heaps of really experienced folks in here that will help you make your choice.

Building is my choice of the way to go as s someone just said at least you know what is going in and if you are fussy like me can make a decent job out of it, as opposed to someone else doing it for you and make a real pigs ear out of it, and I have seen some pigs ears in my time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jul 2012   #8

 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Kemf View Post
Thanks! I've never seen a video card that can run 3 monitors; can you show me which one you're referring to?
Without a price range, it's hard to narrow down the field

(And I'm not sure of your location so I'll just newegg as a reference)

But for some rough examples:

Newegg.com - HIS iCooler H775F1GD Radeon HD 7750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
Newegg.com - SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7750 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card ( 11202-00-20G)
Newegg.com - HIS IceQ H657QO1G Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Video Card
Newegg.com - XFX CORE Edition FX-777A-ZNF4 Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

For AMD cards, to run three monitors, typically 2 monitors will connect via DVI and the 3rd will connect via what's called a Display port, or mini DP. (it's a new connection type). Alternatively, one via DVI, one Via HDMI and one via DP. It depends on the card itself.

If your monitor doesn't have a 'native' DP port, you can use a Display/Mini Display port to DVI or hdmi adapter. Even VGA if need be.

ie: (These are just a couple of examples)
Newegg.com - macally MDDVI Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adaptor
Newegg.com - BYTECC MDPDHD-15CM Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort + DVI + HDMI® Adaptor
Newegg.com - StarTech DisplayPort to DVI Video Adapter DP2DVI DisplayPort to DVI Interface

Do you currently have the 4 monitors or will you be buying them as well?

If you currently have the four monitors, do know what connection types they are capable of?

Either way there's a plethora of ways/workarounds to connect.


Alternatively, there is nvidia. The GTX 670/680 can actually run four monitors off one card - however price is a factor as the cheapest GTX 670 is around $400

ie:
Newegg.com - MSI N670GTX-PM2D2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

(I've got two of the cards in the second link and have 2 monitors and two TVs connected to the primary card. Then again my needs are very different to yours and to me the price was acceptable. For an office role, it would be overkill. )


Lastly is your original choice of two cards. Since the cards will simply be used for displaying screens and nothing more strenuous, you could simply purchase two cheap cards with the monitor connections you need. All you need is a motherboard with two PCI-E slots and you're good to go. Most ATX boards will have two PCI-E slots.

Newegg.com - Computer Hardware, Video Cards & Video Devices, Desktop Graphics Cards, NVIDIA


But you have at least 3 options to run 4 monitors to choose from


So basically you'll need a case, a PSU, motherboard, video card/s, RAM, and SSD. Do you need an Optical disc drive as well? (DVD-RW)


If you can give a budget, I could put together examples of IVY and Sandy bridged systems for you if you'd like.




Quote:
Many years ago I read that prebuilt systems have LESS issues than custom built ones due to compatibility testing from the manufacturer--is there truth to this?
There is a kernel of truth that simply because prebuilt machines are so homogeneous. Carefully selected components for a custom build completely mitigates that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jul 2012   #9

Desk1 8 Pro / Desk2 7 Home Prem / Laptop 8.1 Pro all 64bit
 
 

Now a really dumb question if I were to run three monitors I take it I would be running either three different programs or three screens of the same program - sorry but I am clueless with this stuff
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jul 2012   #10

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Kemf could you help us here. Are you asking for one computer tower with the ability of plugging in four monitors OR are you looking for for one server tower so you can network 4 work stations with monitors.
It would also help if we new what kind of work this computers is going to be used for. Example. Computer needs for doing photo and movie editing, CAD ect. are not the same as computers doing accounting and spread sheets.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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