hispeed120

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I’m planning on building a new system and media server come September, but I’m really having an incredibly difficult time deciding what components to use.

I think I have my media server down for the most part, as I’m just going to reuse components from my current system in an unRAID box. unRAID is not very demanding, and the throughput should be enough even to stream hi-def content to multiple users simultaneously. I’ve got the components for that minus a power supply. I’m planning on having 20 HDDs (WD 1TB GP) in the Norco 4020 server chassis eventually, so any recommendations of a solid PSU that could handle that load would be much appreciated.

The desktop system will be used for:
Gaming
Video transcoding (to iPod format, HD-DVD and BR ISO to smaller format with minimal quality loss)
Photo Editing (mainly Adobe Photoshop)

The real dilemma is the desktop system. I’m planning on putting all of my media (movies (SD and HD), music, and photos) on the server. Now, I know that music and photos really won’t be that much of an issue, but video will be my hang-up. I’m torn between getting an i7 system and a Phenom II X4 system. I have read tons of benches about the two, and it seems like the i7 trounces the Phenom II in all A/V applications. However, if the HD transcoding of an entire movie still takes many hours, implying that I will need to do it overnight, I guess it’s not really that big of an issue, and I can go with the cheaper Phenom II system. I’ve priced the two systems out, and it is approximately $120 more ($970 vs $850) for the Core i7 system, which isn’t too bad.

My major hang-up between the two systems is which will support better processors down the road? Will I be able to drop in a 6-core or 8-core processor into either platform down the road, or am I going to be stuck with the new build and have to get a new mobo+CPU when the time comes?

Also, with the advent of GPGPU, is a powerful quad really that important? I know that GPGPU is a ways off, but maybe that could be another argument for the Phenom II? I’d love to upscale all of my DVDs (a feature offered in software that supports GPGPU), but isn’t that done by a PS3 or a video card anyways? Also, would I see a performance increase for GPGPU applications with a multi-card steup?

I’d like to have 2 PCIex16 lanes in crossfire, and still be able to put my PCI sound card (HT Omega Striker) as well as a possible eSATA card or something in the future. Onboard eSATA would be even better. I would appreciate it if people could recommend motherboards and whether they would go for a Phenom II or i7 system.

My current list for Phenom II (~$850):

AMD Phenom II X4 955BE
Gigabyte UD5P 790FX
G.Skill 4GB DDR3 1333
Thermaltake SpinQ
ATI 5870

Current list for i7 (~$970):

Intel i7 920
Gigabyte UD4P
OCZ gold 6GB
Xigmatek Dark Knight
ATI 5870

And no, 5870 is not a typo. I'm going to be waiting for the HD 5800 series to come out before I get a new video card. If AMD still hasn't released it by September, I'll just use my current X800XL until they do :p

Thanks in advance for any replies, and sorry if this whole post was a little convoluted…

Rob

 

hispeed120

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Mar 13, 2008
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Does that include HD movies? And how long for the Phenom II? I was under the impression it took more than 5 hours do transcode a HD movie.

When is the i7 planning on being discontinued? Also, what will it be replaced by and what will the price be? Is the 920 just going to go away, and the 950 and i7 Extreme will be the only ones left?

Edit: Something else that crossed my mind: I've seen some stuff floating around saying that the Phenom II is better suited for Win7 than the i7. Is there any truth to this? I'm skeptical.