Sub-$1000 Thuban Workstation/Entertainment Build


Jul 27, 2011
Hello; this is my first post on this forum, though I've been a semi-frequent lurker for at least two years.

I've been an Intel user for most of my computing life, though I'm planning a platform change to AMD for their Phenom II X6 chips. I will be using this machine primarily for multimedia editing/converting, though it is primarily still images. Gaming is an afterthought, though I do want to break out Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit and HAWX 2 @1680x1050 every so often. Low (idle) noise is a must, as my PC is also the file server for the rest of the house.

With that in mind, would you do anything differently, and why? Prices are in $NZ, and are the best prices I could find locally.

CPU: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition - $226
Hexa-core for crunching through conversions. Easily overclockable (which makes 1090T vs 1100T a moot point). Please do not tell me to get an X4 or an i5 2500k on the basis that they're better for gaming.

Mobo:ASUS M4N98TD EVO - $154
Nforce N980i. Supports SLI @ dual x16. Considering a 990FX board, but they're still scarce down here.

Mem: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2x4GB, DDR-1600, CL9) - $107
Cheapest 4GB modules I could find. It's a funny market down here in New Zealand.

GPU: ASUS ENGTX560 DirectCU - $260
GTX 560 with beefy cooling. I used to own a pair of ASUS HD5850's with the same coolers, and I like them. I'm fully aware that the DCII OC version is only $5 more on Newegg, but here it's a $25 difference.

PSU: Corsair HX650W - Owned

Sound: ASUS Xonar DG - Owned

Wifi: ASUS PCE-N13 - Owned

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB (system drive) - $68
WD Caviar Green 500GB - Owned
Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB - Owned

Case: NZXT Phantom - $216
Looks great, built in fan controller (whoo!)

Cooling: Scythe Rasetsu - $86
Best air cooler I could find shorter than 150mm, probably overkill. The NZXT Phantom has a 180mm CPU cooler clearance... until you attach the 200x30mm side fan.

Airflow goes: Side fan, intake. Everything else, exhaust.

EDIT: Fixed links.
CPU - The X6 1075T will overclock the same as that 1090T and be cheaper.

MB - Good choice, but if you can find an AM3+ motherboard you would be more "future proof" with a Bulldozer CPU upgrade down the road.

GPU - The HD 6870 is on the same performance level as that GTX 560 and it typically cheaper. You will be happy with either of these cards.

Cooling - The Cooler Master Hyper 212+ is a great cooler and is typically be found for $30USD. Might see if it is available in your area.

Airflow - Front-to-back... Front intake and side / rear / top exhaust may give you lower case temps.