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Hi guys, I am planning to spend around $1,500 to build a PC. I will be using it to do some graphic design work, video edit, and a little gaming (eyes on StarCraft 2!). I received this month's MaximumPC and they have a great article on building a $1,500 machine. Does this specs below sound good to you, or is there something in there that you would change?

I would like to get a mobo that would support SLI down the road, but I am not sure what's a good substitute for the recommended mobo. Would appreciate any advice!

XFX GeForce 8800 GTS 512 Alpha Dog Edition $350
MSI P35 Neo2-FR mobo $120
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 $275
Patriot 4GB DDR2/800 $120
Cooler Master CM Stacker $120
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610 $120
Windows XP Pro $100
Seagate 750GB Barracuda AS 7200.10 $184
Optiarc AD-7190A $25
Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Gamer $80
 

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I would opt for good ram such as Crucial, Corsair or Kingston where you can go to their sites and prove compatibility to your motherboard and they are manufacturers of ram as well.
Seagate hard drives while they offer the best warranty, are also the most unreliable in sata drives so with a 5 year warranty dead out of the box gives you an expensive reconditioned drive and I had 11 last year, enough to send me to WD drives.
 

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Since you're not doing much gaming... that video card is way overkill.

Get an ATi 3870 (its dual slot diesign is very quiet) or GeForce 8800GT (a bit faster, but noiser) = 3870 is about $190 - 8800GT = $200~220. ATI tends to have a bit better visual quality, especially for desktop.

- ATI 3870 card with 512mb = $150 savings
- MSI is good, but I'd go for a Gigabyte brand board... may cost a bit. I don't trust ASUS with their high failure rates lately. This one is $142: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128082 (DDR2 or DDR3) or for $122 DDR2 only: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128086

- I'd get corsair for the money, reliability. Perhaps these: ($180) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145197 (I wouldnt bother with the included fan)

- If you're NOT overclocking, the included Intel cooler will do just fine - and it'll handle a bit of overclocking... but not much.

- Look at cases YOU may like, not just the review. Antec makes some nice cases for about the same price... but Coolermaster is good. Look at the P180 series by Antec or others: Look at anything above $100: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...y=-1&description=antec+cases&Ntk=&srchInDesc=

- Unless you need VPN, I'd go for Windows Media Center Edition... it looks nicer than plan XP and has some nice extras... think of it as Windows XP-2 (came out in 2004/5). Besides XP-PRO is $140, XP-MCE is $115. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116049

- For a DVD burner, I'd choose Pioneer or Samsung... over a SONY. But SONY is fine.

- You don't need the gamer card. Onboard high-end sound is already included... and you're not a hard-core gamer. I haven't used/installed an AUDIO card in years... like 2000. I was given an Audigy2 card, I never put it in.

You'll save about $200~300 with slight changes... put that towards a nice 24" Samsung LCD display.
 

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