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My Final Build - Looking for expert help to see if it will work

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October 7, 2010 9:34:56 PM

Hi everyone it took alot of time and research and alot of help from the members of this website (who I thank alot) but I have finally pieced together a build and I am looking for final critique before I purchase the parts for assembly.

Now the final concern is I'm not too stressed for money as I am looking to spend at this point anywhere between $1500.00 to $2000.00 for this build. I wish to buy all my parts from www.canadacomputers.com.

What I want is final critique on is if the parts I have chosen are good or if there is something better I should choose to get the best performance or bang for my buck and ensure that this machine will be future proof for upgrades as time goes on. The following are a list of parts I have chosen and at the end of the list is the expectations of what I would like the board to do:

Hardware

CPU - AMD PHENOM II 965 $177.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...


Motherboard - Asus Crosshair IV Formula Socket AM3 AMD 890FX $244.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...


RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3 1600MHz (PC3-12800) 4GB (2x2GB) Dual Channel Kit (F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH) $129.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...


Hard Drive - Seagate Barracuda (ST31000528AS) 7200.12 SATA 3.0Gb/s 1000GB (1TB) 32MB Cache (OEM) $62.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...


Graphics Card - Asus EAH5870/G/2DIS/1GD5 ATI Radeon HD 5870 Chipset (850MHz ) 1GB (4.8Ghz) GDDR5 Dual Display DVI/HDMI/Display Port Display

PCI-Express 2.0 Graphics Card $424.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...


Power Supply - Corsair HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX EPS12V Power Supply $159.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...


CPU FAN - Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 4 Heat Pipes, Copper Base (RR-B10-212P-GP) for Socket LGA1156/1366/775 & Socket AM3/AM2+/AM2 $29.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=8...


CASE - Cooler Master HAF X Full Tower Gaming Case (RC-942-KKN1) $179.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6...


CD/DVD BURNER - ????? HELP PLEASE NOT SURE WHAT TO CHOOSE ?????


Total: $1410.92 before taxes so far


So far people I have talked to have made the following suggestions:

1) Get the AMD 955 PHENON II processsor as you can simply overclock it to a 965 if needed.

The other side to that coin is that I was informed that The 965 is binned higher and therefore a slightly better piece of silicon, but that's not a big deal because the hexacores are significantly nicer if you're going to spend the money. Also from reading reviews on the site the 965 can be overclocked to 4.0 to 4.1 gigahertz stable on air. I don't know about the 955 however.

2) Get G.SKILL ECO Series DDR3 1600MHz as it has lower voltages and can give more headroom. I have also been told the G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3 1600MHz may just be better for overclocking. So which is the better ram here and if I do decide in future to overclock which is the better ram?


Here are two rams:

a) G.SKILL ECO Series DDR3 1600MHz: http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...
Qualified Vendor List states the following: F3-12800CL7D-4GBECO - 7-8-7-24 - VOLTAGE UNKNOWN - DIMM1, DIMM2, DIMM3


b) G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3 1600MHz http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...
Qualified Vendor List states the following: F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - 7-7-7-24 - VOLTAGE 1.65 - DIMM1, DIMM2, DIMM3


3) Some people commented on the MOBO and suggested going with the Gigabyte A-890FXA as I can save some money. However I'm not too concerned about the costs of these mobo's but which is the better board in terms of features, upgradability, headroom for parts, etc.

http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...



Below is a list of what I would like my computer to do.



APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Wish to build and assemble within 1 month after proper research has been done & recommendations have been given.

BUDGET RANGE: $1000 to $2000

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:

This is what I would like to do on this system

Single Bootable System (Windows XP Professional or Windows XP Home Edition or Windows 7 Professional Edition)
Duel Bootable System (Windows 98 & Windows XP Professional)
Duel Bootable System (Linux Fedora & Windows XP Professional)
Duel Bootable System (Linux Fedora & Windows 7) - Considering buying Windows 7 at this time as Market seems to be changing
Internet Explorer Browsing
High End Graphic PC Gaming
Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Access, Excel
Outlook Express Email
Regular Email (Example: google, yahoo, etc)
Downloading/Uploading Streaming Video

Music Player
Computer Programming (Visual Basic, C++, Java, Perl, HTML/XHTML)
Viewing youtube videos
Flash player capable
MSN/AOL Messenger
Ventrilo
Games to be played on System: Counterstrike 1.5, Counterstrike Source, Bad Company 2, Any high graphic end first person shooter game that
comes out later in future. Would like to make certain that this system will be able to play any future games.
Antivirus/Firewall Capable (Use to use Nortons, It was a bottle neck on the system I have. Had to remove it)
Server Capabities (Later on would like to use this a server for home network or set up as a counterstrike server room for friends for online
play)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor, keyboard, mouse, speaker, Operating System (Win 98, XP, Fedora)


PARTS REQUIRED:

CPU
Motheboard
Graphics Card
Memory
Hard Drive
Power Supply
Computer Case & Fans
Heat Sink
DVD/CD Burner
Floppy Disk (If possible - Yes I know its not used anymore but would hope for it)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.canadacomputers.com - Or any other website that has good prices to order from for Canadian dollar.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Canada, Ontario

PARTS PREFERENCES: AMD

OVERCLOCKING: I would like to overclock the CPU and the memory.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Using a SyncMaster 931w with 2000:1 Dynamic contrast. Using windows XP Pro with the following settings at 1152 x 864

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Computer needs to be able to do multi-tasking with multiple windows open without freezing or clogging.
Ability to ALT TAB out quickly and access programs
Ability to quickly use Fast User Switching Mode on Windows XP
Computer Fans Need to be quiet (Friend has a computer and sounds like a vacuum cleaner/airplane combo when turned on - don't need this)
Low to moderate power consumption if possible
Something that will suit my needs and will continue on in future for quite sometime.
Any addition items that would prove to be useful please list them that should be considering when making a computer.
Ability to easily upgrade or replace parts as newer components hit the marketplace.



Here are just a list of threads I have had consulted with people on this build.

High End Gaming Config - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/294021-31-bestconfigs...

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/296455-31-system-buil...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/295455-31-build-selec...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/295073-31-first-time-...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/294641-31-need-select...
October 7, 2010 11:36:10 PM

I dont like 1.65 voltage RAM. The motherboard defaults to 1.5V and starts into ugly red warnings about damaging your system when you hit 1.65V. So far I am very happy with the Eco series I got about 2 weeks ago. Im running them at 1.4V, 1600, cas 6 right now.
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October 8, 2010 1:10:11 AM

dndhatcher said:
I dont like 1.65 voltage RAM. The motherboard defaults to 1.5V and starts into ugly red warnings about damaging your system when you hit 1.65V. So far I am very happy with the Eco series I got about 2 weeks ago. Im running them at 1.4V, 1600, cas 6 right now.


Seems this ram is quite popular. Hoping a few other people can commment on the build so i can get more suggestions and hopefully make an informed decision
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Related resources
October 8, 2010 2:23:16 AM

At your price point, you should be able to afford an i7 system, or at least an i5. There isn't too much difference between then PhenomII and the i5, and the i7 won't net you significant performance gains for gaming, but if you're looking to spend that much, you might as well get the best. Unless, of course, you're dead set on an AMD system.

And I second the recommendation on the GSkill Eco RAM.
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October 8, 2010 5:06:43 AM

coleam45 said:
At your price point, you should be able to afford an i7 system, or at least an i5. There isn't too much difference between then PhenomII and the i5, and the i7 won't net you significant performance gains for gaming, but if you're looking to spend that much, you might as well get the best. Unless, of course, you're dead set on an AMD system.

And I second the recommendation on the GSkill Eco RAM.


Seems I will be going with the eco-skill as quite a few people have recommended them due to their low voltage.

Is the ram overclockable?

Also i'm still deciding on what system to build. I may go with this amd build but at the same time I have been considering a build with i950 intel chip with the sabertooth motherboard. But for now I just want to focus on this build.

Any other suggested changes to the build in terms of improvements?
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October 8, 2010 5:45:34 AM

chrisbek said:
Seems I will be going with the eco-skill as quite a few people have recommended them due to their low voltage.

Is the ram overclockable?

Also i'm still deciding on what system to build. I may go with this amd build but at the same time I have been considering a build with i950 intel chip with the sabertooth motherboard. But for now I just want to focus on this build.

Any other suggested changes to the build in terms of improvements?

The GSkill Eco RAM is very overclockable. It's at 1.35 stock volts instead of the standard 1.5-1.65 that you usually see for RAM like that. This gives you a lot of voltage to play with for overclocking purposes. You generally want to keep it under 1.5 though, since most motherboards default to 1.5v RAM and don't like to go higher. You won't be able to use this RAM with the X58 board though since the LGA 1366 chipset uses triple channel RAM (3 sticks) instead of dual channel (2 sticks). GSkill doesn't have a 6 GB kit of the Ecos that I'm aware of.

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October 11, 2010 2:31:35 PM

coleam45 said:
The GSkill Eco RAM is very overclockable. It's at 1.35 stock volts instead of the standard 1.5-1.65 that you usually see for RAM like that. This gives you a lot of voltage to play with for overclocking purposes. You generally want to keep it under 1.5 though, since most motherboards default to 1.5v RAM and don't like to go higher. You won't be able to use this RAM with the X58 board though since the LGA 1366 chipset uses triple channel RAM (3 sticks) instead of dual channel (2 sticks). GSkill doesn't have a 6 GB kit of the Ecos that I'm aware of.


Great so eco skill it is for the ram.

Anyone see any other charnges that should be made to improve functionality, performance or even cost?
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October 11, 2010 3:25:52 PM

I agree that you should be looking at i7/i5 in the $1500 - $2000 price range.

using canada computer prices

CPU: Core i7 950 ($330)
MOBO: Gigabyte X58-UD3R ($230)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 6 GB (3 x 2 GB) ($145)
GPU: 2 x ASUS GTX 470 ($600 after rebates)
PSU: Corsair 950TX ($150)
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1 TB, WD1002FAEX specifically ($95)

-I didn't see the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB, which is usually cheaper, but performance shouldn't be too different.

CASE: HAF 922 ($90)

That's $1640 and is much faster than what you have in the original post. Two GTX 470s is more than twice as fast as a 5870 (outperforms 5870 crossfire and costs less). The 950 won't bottleneck any GPU now and for a while especially since you have 2 x16 lanes. Right now, having 2 x8 lanes isn't a problem (~4% hit), but AMD just released new 6 series GPUs...and Nvidia will then be releasing their new GPUs. Should you want to upgrade GPU in a year and a half, the performance hit from having dual x8 lanes could be more significant as the GPUs keep getting faster and faster. I think if you have up to $2000 to spend and you can get a system ^THIS good for $1640, you should definitely do it.

If you want to go even further towards your $2000 mark, you can throw in an SSD boot drive. I would recommend an OCZ 90 GB Vertex 2 or 120 GB version (the 120 might push you over $2k by a couple of dollars).

Intel is releasing new SSDs shortly, so I would hold off on that until we see what their 25nm SSDs do for the price of the Sandforce drives.
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October 11, 2010 8:54:16 PM



mortonww said:
I agree that you should be looking at i7/i5 in the $1500 - $2000 price range.

using canada computer prices

CPU: Core i7 950 ($330)
MOBO: Gigabyte X58-UD3R ($230)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws Series 6 GB (3 x 2 GB) ($145)
GPU: 2 x ASUS GTX 470 ($600 after rebates)
PSU: Corsair 950TX ($150)
HDD: WD Caviar Black 1 TB, WD1002FAEX specifically ($95)

-I didn't see the Samsung Spinpoint F3 1 TB, which is usually cheaper, but performance shouldn't be too different.

CASE: HAF 922 ($90)

That's $1640 and is much faster than what you have in the original post. Two GTX 470s is more than twice as fast as a 5870 (outperforms 5870 crossfire and costs less). The 950 won't bottleneck any GPU now and for a while especially since you have 2 x16 lanes. Right now, having 2 x8 lanes isn't a problem (~4% hit), but AMD just released new 6 series GPUs...and Nvidia will then be releasing their new GPUs. Should you want to upgrade GPU in a year and a half, the performance hit from having dual x8 lanes could be more significant as the GPUs keep getting faster and faster. I think if you have up to $2000 to spend and you can get a system ^THIS good for $1640, you should definitely do it.

If you want to go even further towards your $2000 mark, you can throw in an SSD boot drive. I would recommend an OCZ 90 GB Vertex 2 or 120 GB version (the 120 might push you over $2k by a couple of dollars).

Intel is releasing new SSDs shortly, so I would hold off on that until we see what their 25nm SSDs do for the price of the Sandforce drives.




Hi i'm a bit confused when it comes to computers and I would like if you or someone else can explain to me why the build you have selected is faster or better then the build I have selected.

I'm just a bit lost here.

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October 11, 2010 10:03:05 PM

mortonww said:
The processor is much faster and two GTX 470s in SLI will be much faster than a single 5870. Check out these benchmarks for GPU comparison:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/19404/11

What mortonww says is true. The i7 950 is a little faster than an AMD 955 and a pair of 470s is noticeably faster than a 5870. There are some caveats.

You will generate more heat and use more power with a pair of 470s.

You may not effectively see any difference as the 5870 is enough to max out any of the games you mentioned.

If you get a high GPU use game like Crysis or Metro2033, you will defintely see an FPS difference between the two systems.

You should get windows 7 64bit for windows gaming. Either machine would be a huge waste of money to put windows 98 or XP on. I have doubts that you will find 98 drivers for the newer hardware so you probably cant install it anyway.
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October 11, 2010 11:37:48 PM

First off I would like to thank everyone for all their help and input on the subject. Its really helping me to learn and also make an informed decision.

I have a few other questions:

1) I want to build this system so I can play Bad Company 2 with a friend of mine. Do I need to have 2 graphics card in SLI or Crossfire to play that game and do all the things I listed above or will 1 card do? If 1 card is more then enough which is the best card to choose? Is a 5870 good or is there something else that is better. I know the best card on the market from reading reviews is the 5970 but for $700 Canadian dollars I find it a bit too pricey and read the 5870 is next best card.

2) The reason I choose the AMD 965 is for the price and it can easily be overclocked to 4.2 stable. Also read alot of good reviews on the processor and also that the Crosshair IV mobo has alot of great features and reviews on newegg.com. I hear also bulldozer is coming out and gives me an upgrade path for that cpu for the mobo I selected.

3) I'm a bit scared of the other mobo's as the reviews on the Gigabyte X58 UD3R seem to have alot of issues when i viewed them on newegg. Anyone have any experience on this board? I was looking at the Asus SABERTOOTH X58 as it has good reviews on it. Is this a good board or is the Gigabyte X58 UD3R better if I go the i950 route?

I personally would like to keep the costs to 1500 before taxes if possible but if an i950 will give me better performance then I will glady choose spend the extra money.

The reason I want Windows 98 on my system is for some legacy programs I have. I am planning to get Windows 7 at some point but for now I thought Windows XP would still be good for gaming. Am I wrong on this?


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October 12, 2010 12:50:44 AM

Go with the Sabertooth if you feel more comfortable with it, but the UD3R gets great professional reviews. Both are great boards, though.

I think that the i7 950 build is more appropriate for this budget range. You will save money on motherboard, processor, and by buying 1 less RAM stick, but then you also have a system that's weaker and under budget. If you have between $1500 and $2000, you should feel very good about an i7 build.

You could remove one 470 from the above build to drop the price to $1340ish and that would play Bad Company 2 very well.

470s perform within 5 - 10% of 5870s in most games and they are $100 cheaper on average, so they're excellent value. Also, two 470s in SLI beat 2 5870s because of better SLI scaling, so it's just a better choice all around: for now and the future.

Yikes, Windows 98. Don't know what to say about that. Windows 7 Professional has an XP emulation mode, so if those 98 programs will work in XP, get Win 7 Pro 64 bit and use XP emulation to run them.

EDIT:

Quote:
2) The reason I choose the AMD 965 is for the price and it can easily be overclocked to 4.2 stable. Also read alot of good reviews on the processor and also that the Crosshair IV mobo has alot of great features and reviews on newegg.com. I hear also bulldozer is coming out and gives me an upgrade path for that cpu for the mobo I selected.


AMD Bulldozer CPUs will NOT be compatible with AM3 motherboards. they will introduce an AM3+ socket with bulldozer, which will accept AM3 CPUs, but AM3 sockets won't accept AM3+ CPUs (bulldozer). So there's no upgrade path in that.
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October 12, 2010 4:19:55 PM

One thing to remember about newegg reviews is that they are skewed. The less expensive, more popular items like the UD3R are on average purchased by lots of first time installers trying to save money so they are going to have lots of "problems" reported that are really installation errors. Boards with fewer reviews are bought by a more limited group of people with generally more experience.

That said, I would buy the Sabertooth over the UD3R. Its features are really closer to the UD5R so its a good value IMO.

For Bad Company the CPU is more important. A single 5870 or 470 will be plenty. The 5870s advantage is a bit of speed single and a bit less power/heat. The 470s advantage is a bit of speed if you ever decide to add a second one. Either will be a good decision.

Get windows 7 now. XP leaves you stuck at DX9. You will not get to enjoy the full capabilities of this nice new hardware you are buying. Its like buying a Porsche and then only driving it below the speed limit. You can get a much cheaper sub $1000 computer if you are going to run XP.

There is no guarantee that win98 software will run on newer hardware. The drivers may just not exist. Most win98 software will run under XP, so it should also run under win7 professsionals XP mode.
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October 12, 2010 9:53:41 PM

After reading what all of you have suggested for intel build and reading up some more on the sli configurations I am really liking the idea.

If I wish to avoid the UD3R Mobo is there any other boards here worthy to select out from the list for this type of intel build:

http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.php?cPath=26_342&p...

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October 12, 2010 10:34:30 PM

Check out the Asus Sabertooth and P6X58D-E
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October 15, 2010 3:04:46 AM

mortonww said:
Check out the Asus Sabertooth and P6X58D-E


Thanks for the help mortann, dndhatcher and everyone who responded. You all gave me alot to think about.

I did more research on the GA-X58A-UD3R and looked a bit deeper at all the reviews at the www.newegg.com

Although people said they had some problems with this board it was still rated by the majority of the people as a good board.

I pieced together the following build and I am looking for some critique if any of the parts should be changed.


Intel BUILD

CPU - Intel Core i7 950 Quad-Core Socket LGA1366, 3.06Ghz, 4.8GT/s FSB, 8MB L3 Cache, 45nm (Retail Boxed) $329.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=4...

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R Socket 1366 Intel X58 Chipset Dual-Channel DDR3 2200/1333/1066Mhz 4x PCI Express x16 Slots GigaLAN 8-Ch

HD Audio 2x SATA 3Gb/s+6x SATA 3Gb/s 2x USB 3.0+10x USB 2.0 ATX $222.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

Ram - Corsair XMS3 Dominator 3GB (3x1G) DDR3 1600MHz CL8 DIMM w/DHX+, Optimized for Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition $99.99 (THIS RAM IS ON THE QVL)
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...


Hard Drive - Western Digital Caviar Black (WD1002FAEX) 1000GB (1TB) SATA3 7200RPM 64MB Cache (OEM) $ 94.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...

Solid state harddrive: OCZ (OCZSSD2-2AGT40G) Agility 2 SATA II 2.5" 40GB Solid State Drive, Read: 280MB/s, Write: 270MB/s $99.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=1...


Graphics Card - 260.00 approximately prices I see for most of these cards but which card do I select for Nvidia 460? There are so many here I don't know which one's are good for SLI?


Power Supply - Corsair TX Series CMPSU-950TX 950W ATX 12V 60A 24PIN ATX Power Supply Active PFC 120MM Fan $ 169.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=3...


CASE - Cooler Master HAF 932 Full Tower ATX Case (RC-932-KKN1-GP) - $ 139.99
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=6...


CPU FAN - What's a good fan if planning for overclocking?????


CD/DVD BURNER - Still not sure ??? Help???


Total cost so far approximately: $1417.93 (If I go with an SLI combo its gonna be approx $1650)



Still unsure of the following:

1) I looked for the G-Skill RAM mortann recommended but couldn't find it on www.canadacomputers.com. Since I couldn't find it I looked at the QVL and found out that Corsair RAM 1600 mhz I selected is accepted in this board. I don't know if this is a good choice or if there is something better.

2) Not sure which Nvidia card I should get? There are so many 460's. I am definitely interested in DUEL SLI from our conversation.

3) Not sure what heat sink would be good if I am planning to overclock. Any recommendations?

4) I've been out of the loop on CD/DVD burners what is good? Any suggestions?
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October 15, 2010 5:29:26 PM

1>EVGA, HIS, ASUS, Saphire are the graphics card companies with the better reputations. My favorite of them is EVGA.

2>Thats only 3GB of RAM. It will be OK if you are tight on budget. Most people would get a 3x2GB kit for 6GB of RAM. It also has tall heat spreaders, which I dislike. The key is to get 1.6V or less ram without tall heat spreaders so you avoid all possible problems. Should be $150 or less for 6GB kit. That website is pretty aweful for searching. Those idiots have a triple channel 1.65-1.85V ram kit. No triple channel motherboard should ever use RAM with that much voltage.

This gskill kit is alright for $120
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=2...

3> Coolermaster Hyper 212 plus, Scythe Mugen 2 (SCMG-2100), Xigmatek Dark Knight, Xigmatek Balder

4> Any sony/lite-on cheap SATA DVD burner. Lightscribe is a waste of money and is often noisier.
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