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GFX card and Case suggestion for a mult-purpose workstation build

Mnemosign

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#1
Hi

I'm looking to build a budget workstation.
I plan to use it mostly for
-> enthusiast multimedia work (photos/video right now, audio and 3D models later)
-> Software development and programming (both web and non-web)
-> chess
-> miscellaneous others (infrequent, whereas the above 3 would be regular)

I used to game but i haven't gamed in ages and i would like to start again too.

I would liked to run Linux exclusively on this but seeing that most popular games i want to play
are not supported there, I'm looking to run Windows 7/8 as the base OS and Linux VMs on top of that
for most.

Here's my part list (mostly acquired) till now
http://pcpartpicker.com/user/abhikrk/saved/4ssM

I'll be very happy to avoid upgrading in a few years and i hope that till now
i have been able to select the components accordingly.

The motherboard has been chosen such that future compute needs can be accommodated
with overclocks either on the same CPU or a higher-end version on the same line.
Similarly i have chosen the CPU so that i can run a mix of diverse workloads now
(or if in future i run Linux exclusively, i can squeeze out performance benefits using a source-based distribution like Gentoo)
Admittedly the CPU might not be very good for single-core heavy workloads like photo editing or gaming
(that's what i read) but i'm willing to risk that for now given that i'm not sure to what extent i'll
indulge in them.

Now i'm left with choosing
1> Case
2> Graphics card

My thinking is that case will be the most crucial component along with the motherboard for extending
the life of the system and i need to choose accordingly.
E.g. if i use this extensively for gaming and later want to put up a SLI/CrossFire setup then the case
should be able to support that. The case should also be able to support upgrade to a higher-end
AMD FX processor.e.g 8350 and future overclocking. I don't have much experience with enthusiast/performance cases so a case that comes with decent set of fans in stock configuration would be preferable.
Best i've liked till now is the NZXT 530 , but to be honest, mostly for its looks :)

I don't have any choice on the Graphics card yet.
I'm looking for something mainstream and entry-level which will let me play the more intensive games at modest settings, won't break the bank and would be reasonable in power consumption. Hopefully i can find something which i can re-purpose in a dedicated SFF gaming PC later if needed (and get a lower-end Graphics card for this workstation)
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107-8.html
gives me the idea that an AMD R7 260X-based card could be a good fit.

I'll be very please to have your suggestions/advice.

Thanks in advance.
 
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#2
first off, if you dump the networking card (you honestly don't need it), for $25 more, you can get a Intel 4670k set-up that will stomp that FX6300. - http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3wY8Q

I also included my suggestion for a video card. That Powercolor GHX edition 7870 for $140 is a sweet deal IMHO, and it's a lot stronger gaming card than a R7 260X. Personally, I would not recommend anything less than a R9 270 for gaming(the 7870 GHZ Edition and R9 270 are about equal in gaming performance).

As for the case, if you like the 530, go for it. It is a good case with good air flow, and from my experience with my NZXT Source 210 budget case's wire management, I'm sure the 530 is set-up for very good cable management as well. Only important points to consider when picking a case is its' air flow, wire management, USB connections (2.0 or 3.0), and looks.
 
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#3
Ok your list is pretty good but I want to change too much of it so here is my suggestion:
FX 8320
Hyper 212 EVO
Gigabyte 970A UD3P
R7 265
550W PSU Seasonic/Corsair/XFX/EVGA/Enermax
Xigmatek Alfar or some other cheap ATX case
2x4GB of RAM @ 1600mhz the cheaper the better
1TB HDD @ 7200RPM
120GB SSD Intel/Samsung/Crucial/ADATA

You can add some more stuff to it but this is my go to budget anything system.
 

Mnemosign

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#4
Thanks for the suggestions.

By now, I've acquired everything in my parts list but the case and graphics card
http://pcpartpicker.com/user/abhikrk/saved/4ssM
so i'll be sticking with the AMD-based setup.

The motherboard, as per spec
https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/SABERTOOTH_990FX_R20/specifications/
doesn't come with built-in wireless so i have to add the networking card

I'm smitten enough by the NZXT 530 (and i hope it offers enough future-proofing)
to ease on my 'budget' requirements :)
(My parts list also strongly contradicts that by now!)

Which leaves me finally with choosing a Graphics card ....

If i go with a Radeon R9 270X-based options ...
my choices (based on what i get at India) are
Powercolor
http://www.ebay.in/itm/2GB-Power-Co...phics-Display-Card-Video-Memory-/331120223002
MSI
http://www.flipkart.com/msi-amd-ati-r9-270x-gaming-2g-2-gb-gddr5-graphics-card/p/itmdpvgbm5mfapyv
XFX
http://www.flipkart.com/xfx-amd-ati...-card/p/itmdsgmywymggbem?pid=GRCDSGMYWYMGGBEM
Sapphire
http://www.flipkart.com/sapphire-am...oc-2-gb-ddr5-graphics-card/p/itmdtp5j69ssu9gj

My upper bound for a card would be 15k INR/ and only the Sapphire above seems closest.
I'm not sure yet how it stacks up to the rest.

At that price point i can also get an Nvidia 660 Gaming
http://www.flipkart.com/msi-nvidia-...g-2-gb-gddr5-graphics-card/p/itmdt7dhyx2agbr5
but i wonder if it can be considered an equivalent of an R9 270X?

Graphics card prices are very inflated here and at that price bracket,
i should have been able to consider a GTX 760 elsewhere but here that's a lot costlier by about 35 - 65(the TF versions) USD

Thanks again
 
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#5

Mnemosign

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#6
Thanks everybody!

This is the final setup, all parts acquired.
http://pcpartpicker.com/user/abhikrk/saved/4inM

NZXT H440 was made available here recently and i got that over the Phantom 530.
That allows me re-purpose an external CD/DVD drive from earlier.
For the graphics card, I ended up getting an MSI R7 240X.
Looks to me (based on games that interest me more right now) that i can manage with this for quite some time.
This lets me save some money which i can use for a Crossfire setup or a faster CPU later as an upgrade path.

I'm hoping to run Windows 7 as a KVM guest over Linux
https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=162768
For that, I might add another graphics card very soon.
Not a Crossfire setup, but as the dedicated primary GPU for the host OS.
For that any budget, PCI-E, 3D-accelerated card should do (maybe a Radeon HD 5450?)
 

Aquinus

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#7
If you plan on playing games in a VM off a physical video card, make sure that the motherboard/CPU combo you have supports doing IOMMU. Intel calls it VT-d, AMD calls it AMD I/O Virtualization Tech. Although I have no idea what issues you would run into trying to pass a GPU through to a guest. I've heard about it working with some video cards on VMWare ESXi, but once again IOMMU is required.