Performance and Value Workstation – would appreciate feedback


Jul 16, 2011
Hi, I posted this on “Prebuilt” and got no answers. It’s not really built yet, so maybe this section is more appropriate. If I need to use the template, please let me know. I had already written it up. Thanks for any advice.

I am planning to purchase a computer from AVA Direct; the build below would be about $1100. I would appreciate any advice on the components shown, especially in regard to suitability for my purposes and compatibility with each other.

Need to get it soon; current Dell XPS 400 purchased in 2006. Live in fear of fatal problem. Cheaper would be better, if there are other choices that let me do well enough now and add more later.
1. Very fast response; impatient waiting for routine operations to execute.
2. Ability to multi-task, although I put away applications I’m not using: software developer tools, browser, Outlook…
3. Music listening (classical, jazz) via external stereo system. Very good quality desired, but not audiophile standards or prices.
4. Optimize performance now vs. probable long-term use and room for future improvements.
5. Energy-efficient where possible.
6. Occasionally watch video or DVD.
7. Not a gamer myself, but share strong interest in optimizing performance.

Intel i5-2500, LGA 1155. Seems to have the best performance/value ratio. Also energy-efficient. Don’t think I need i7.

Gigabyte GA-H67A-UD3H-B3 DDR3-1333 16gb/4, PCIe x 16, CF/2, SATA 3Gb/s/2, VGA+DVI+HDMI_DP, USB .0/2, HAD, GbLAN, FW/3 ATX.
Will back up data frequently so don’t see need for RAID 0.

System disk
INTEL 80gb 320 Series SSD. If not the fastest, perhaps most reliable.
For OS, large applications, and those required to be on primary disk. 80 gb enough?

Data disk
WD 1TB Caviar Black, SATA 6 Gb/s 64 MB Cache

Sound card
ASUS Xonar Essence STX

Antec EarthWatts EQ 650 Green, 650W. Am I going overboard with 650W? Want plenty for optimal performance, energy efficiency, and future needs, but no point wasting money.

G-Skill 4 x 2 Ripjaws PC3-12800 ddr3 1600MHz CL9 1.5V
AVA Direct didn’t list 2 x 4 as a choice, but may be available. 4 DIMM slots are preferable to 2 anyway, for future expansion. Either config preferable? Is 1600MHz wasted if motherboard rated at 1333?

Antec Three Hundred Black Mid-tower.

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. Not included in price; already purchased for home computers.


Jul 16, 2011

Hi Gkay09, I really appreciate your responding.

Pros for building it myself:
1. I would learn a lot.
2. It would be fun.
3. The physical assembly shouldn’t be a problem.
4. Care and attention. I have control over how much I would give it.

Cons for building it myself:
1. Time. I already work two jobs. The list of things that need doing goes on and on. I need it to be up and running so I keep up with high priority tasks. I used to enjoy working on my own car. But these days, the time and the learning curve just aren’t worth it.
2. Experience. I change computers about every five years. I’d rather it were built by someone who does it every day.
3. Recovery from error. If they mess it up, they have to fix it.
4. Cost. If I bought the parts myself, I would put a lot of time and effort looking for the best price. Still, a quick lookup on Newegg adds up to approximately what AVA Direct charges.
5. Risk aversion. Sometimes I mess things up and it’s really difficult to recover.

I enjoy reading this forum and learning about what goes into the machine I spend so much time with. Researching each component and finding the sweet spot gives me a good feeling of participation in the final product.