Build critique/I need a case/shipping

(Please read my three questions at the very bottom)

Approximate Purchase Date: Late next week

Budget Range: Cheaper the better but without a doubt has to be below $1500 after everything.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (FPS), work/school (mainly MatLab), surfing the internet, watching movies, light photoshopping

Parts Not Required:keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:, MicroCenter (brick and mortar) but willing to use other *trusted* sites

Country of Origin: U S of A

Parts Preferences: Intel i-series

Overclocking: Not at the moment but *definitely* will in the future

SLI or Crossfire: Not at the moment but maybe will in the future (thus the beefier PSU)

Monitor Resolution:1920x1080, eventually dual 1920x1080 (or higher!)

Additional Comments: Basically I want a computer that can run all my games *not* on the lowest graphics settings and without overheating like my current laptop. Ideally it would last me at least 4-5 years with only minor upgrades (RAM, OCing, adding 2nd GPU, etc). Also why i chose a mobo with USB 3.0 and SATA3

Some games I play: FPS's in general, Assassins creed, Mass Effect... I would play more but my laptop can't really handle them without starting to overheat (i've seen it hit 90C using speedfan). (Dell Studio: i7-720M, ATI 5450, 6GB RAM, WIN7 Ultimate x64)


Hello, three question post! I'm building my first desktop over winter break and below is what I have spec-ed out so far.

Intel X25-M SSDSA2MH080G2K5 2.5" 80GB SATA II $179.99

2x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM (RAID1) $139.98 (for two)

Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 $209.99

CPU: Intel i7-950 $200

RAM: G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM $99.99

GPU: XFX HD-687A-ZNFC Radeon HD 6870 1GB $249.99

PSU:CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W $109.99

DVD: LITE-ON CD/DVD Burner $19.99

HSF: COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 $15

Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5 $10

Subtotal ~$1240 after rebates, before tax/shipping AND without a case.

1) Any parts I should swap? Either for better performance or to save me money.
1b) AMD HD 6870 or nVida 470?
1c) I really don't know anything amount RAM or PSUs. I just went by reviews and such...

2) I could use case suggestions. I really, really like the Silverstone ft02 but atm I can't justify buying a case that is more expensive than the CPU (or is it really that good of a case and I should just suck it up since I think I would be within budget?). The Corsair 600 or the Bitfenix Survivor also look interesting. Suggestions? I prefer slicker looking cases over angular, "lights up like a christmas tree" cases and a CPU cut out would be really nice. Also, needs at least 4x 3.5" HD slots.

3) I will be building this computer at home and then shipping it to school. Any suggestions on shipping? Which service to use, if i should unmount the HSF/GPU, etc.
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  1. Best answer
    For your questions
    Mobo + RAM
    ASUS X58 Sabertooth - 5 years warranty

    Thermal Paste - Drop the AS5, it is electrically conductive and IMO the paste that comes with the cooler would suffice...

    1b) HD 6870

    1c)Both are good, no issues and you get a very good combo with that mobo

    2) CASE - Check out Lian-Li cases -
    Also check out the Raven 02 - this one comes in Matter black
    Or a very good Mid Tower

    3) While shipping just make sure you unmount the GPU and Cooler as these both put lot of force on the mobo and hence better to unmount them...
  2. I'd wait 2 weeks to see what the 69xx GPU's bring. At the least you'll see a price drop in GPU prices.

    Also, 68xx aren't really worth it price/performance right now. GTX 470's are as cheap as $230, 5850's $175.
  3. Thanks for the replies.

    gkay09: Thank you for pointing out that mobo/ram kit. My only concern with it is the number of SATA ports. I am buying 3 HDDs and one optical for this computer and I already have 2 other HDDs im going to drop in it. This only leaves 2 SATA ports open for upgrading... (SATA 6Gb/s port is backwards compatible with a SATA 3Gb/s drive, right?)

    Which thermal paste do you recommend? From my understanding, every time you unmount/mount the HSF you should clean and reapply paste.

    banthracis: Thank you for reminding me about that, I forgot to ask about that. I can afford to wait a little more but I want to have this machine built before the New Year. When is AMD supposed to release the 69xx?
  4. Expected release is mid month, just in time for christmas.
  5. Do you think the release of the 69xx will push the 6870 or 5850 prices down? Its hard to pass up the 5850 @ $175...
  6. ^^^ Yes, SATA 6GB/s ports are backwards compatible...

    Thermal grease -
    Tuniq TX-2
    Noctua NT-H1

    As for the price, Yes, it might push the prices of the 6870/ 6850 to previous levels - say $170/ $240,...
    And the release date is Dec 13th
  7. Thank you to you both! Now I will play the waiting game and maybe post again a few days before I make the actual purchase.
  8. Did you see the corsair ax 750 article that came out on some other computing site (anand something or other). Also, the more recent one on the gtx 570? These are two components I would definitely consider.

    I'm excited about your build. Good luck.

    Any thoughts about waiting for sandybridge?
  9. adampower: Thank you for pointing those out. I'll definitely look into the ax 750 but the GTX 570 i don't know. Its hard to pass up the 5850 at $185. Regardless I have a little bit of time to see what AMD does.

    As for Sandybridge, I thought about it but I don't think I can wait that long. I want to build this machine while I'm at home (versus at college) because there is a Microcenter close to home where I can currently get the i7-950 for $200. I know Sandybridge will probably bring that even lower but its either build a computer during winter break or wait until March for spring break =/
  10. Just thought I'd throw the "latest intel game changer" platform your way. I think, however, the big thing will be the addition of a proper on die graphics engine and you or I would use discrete graphics anyway.

    I agree with the 5850 at $185. I'm an ATI (okay amd already) graphics fanboy. Even fighting with Catalyst hasn't changed that. Power consumption is generally much less and they scale well with crossfire should you ever need it. A 5850 is all I would need for any current games as I don't have a 30" monitor anyway. I was just excited that the gtx 570 blew the doors off of almost anything and they managed to keep heat and power down to almost amd levels.

    As to the AX750 I only brought it up because most rigs rarely burn more than a couple hundred watts unless you're fragging zombies on a 30" monitor. Therefore, the efficiency at 25% is actually more important to me than the efficiency at max. Hey, if I manage to use the entire 750 watts I'm throwing power consumption to the wind and using the extra heat to blow dry my hair.

    I say build it.. use the spinning drive until reading week and throw in an ssd with a fresh install. It's the best way to see what the ssd actually does for your system. Do me a favour and install the ssd with no other drive connected. Then fire up and check it out before installing any spinners. I love that sound.
  11. ^ The Corsair AX750 is definetly a very good one, but also is costlier...
    Check out this PSU -
    With the Promo code, cost ~ same as the 750TX but is more powerful @ the 12V rails and is more efficient 80+ Silver, as for the company it is as good as Corsair or maybe even better when it comes to PSUs
    PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II PPCMK2S750 750W
    10% off with promo code OCZDEC12, ends 12/19

    Or this is also good deal -
    Antec TP 750 80+ Bronze
    $30 off w/ promo code EMCZNYN54, ends 12/8

    Or this combo would be very good if you are fine with the 5850
    XFX 750W + XFX 5850
  12. Since I have your attention maybe you can answer this... i read in another thread that the board that gkay09 suggested is okay for minor OCing (up to 4GHz). If I ever went dual 5850s would 4GHz be enough so the CPU doesn't bottle neck the system?

    adampower said:
    Do me a favour and install the ssd with no other drive connected. Then fire up and check it out before installing any spinners. I love that sound.

    I'll try to remember and PM you when I do it ;)

    EDIT: gkay09 didn't see your post when i replied. That combo is interesting... do you know how that XFX PSUs would fair compared to either corasir or the PC Power and Cooling PSU?
  13. ^ XFX is very good - Comparable to the Corsair HX750
    EDIT: Forgot to mention it is based on the Seasonic MD12 platform so that should explain...
  14. Wow nice! I'm going to have to figure out what to do with all this money you're saving me, lol.


    Since I have your attention maybe you can answer this... i read in another thread that the board that gkay09 suggested is okay for minor OCing (up to 4GHz). If I ever went dual 5850s would 4GHz be enough so the CPU doesn't bottle neck the system?
  15. ^ The i7 9xx are very powerful CPUs and at ~4GHz are very fast, so IMO it would keep up with HD 5850 crossfire...
    These articles might interest you,2737.html,2738.html
  16. ^ I agree. Interesting threads.

    Of course your system will push frame rates in anything we have today. So, we're asking what will be the bottleneck tomorrow. I don't know. But, your cpu has plenty of room. As do the 5850s for that matter.
  17. Best answer selected by kire.
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